Lift red-hot crowbar, prove you?re a virgin

Read more below

By G.S. RADHAKRISHNA in Hyderabad
  • Published 19.02.05

Hyderabad, Feb. 19: ?Let the boy take the chastity test also, why only me?? yelled 14-year-old Renuka, her eyes flashing with anger as six wise men sat in judgement inside a temple.

The Dalit girl of Dubbaka village in Nalgonda district had been asked to lift a red-hot crowbar to prove she was still a virgin and had not been up to any mischief with 16-year-old V. Narasimha.

The quaint ?chastity test? was the brainwave of the Jangama Budagulu caste panchayat to which Renuka?s father had run after tongues began wagging in their village that his daughter had slept with Narasimha.

In spite of Renuka?s protests that she had ?not allowed Narasimha to touch me? and she was not in any relationship with him, Yadagiri had refused to listen. Renuka even said he had been harassing her to marry him and had started the rumour himself to pile pressure on her and her family. But her cries fell on deaf ears.

So, when the six wise men were sounded, they promptly took up the case. Before fixing a date for the hearing, they asked the parents of the boy and the girl to deposit Rs 15,000 each ? for snacks and liquor -? and give a commitment that they would abide by their decision.

January 25 was first fixed as the day of judgement. That day, Renuka would have to fish a ring out of boiling oil in front of the village to prove her virginity, it was ordained. Unfortunately for the panchayat, it rained and the test had to be put off for February 5. Renuka?s boiling oil test was replaced with the red-hot crowbar one.

By February 5, word of the test had spread across the district and people from all over thronged the village. Local television channels did not miss the opportunity either. The panchayat put off the test for February 7 and shut out the media.

So, for the third time, Renuka readied for trial, this time inside a temple in the presence of police. She kept insisting that she was ?clean? and had ?not sinned? and there was no reason why she should be put through such embarrassment not once, but three times over.

And if she had ?sinned?, hadn?t Narasimha too, she asked. Then, how come he was not being asked to take the test?

With the lawkeepers looking on, the elders got a trifle uneasy. They decided to put off the test yet another time. Finally, the police stepped in, saying they would not allow such a ?primitive? trial to be held.