Agnipariksha 2014: Woman asked to hold hot iron rods to prove chastity

Last Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014 11:31 hrs

Indore: A local court ordered registration of cases against four people, including a woman's husband and mother-in-law, for allegedly forcing her to "prove" her "chastity" in front of a community panchayat by holding red-hot iron rods, if she wanted to live with her husband.

Allegedly, the complainant was asked to "prove her chastity" by holding red-hot iron rods with her palms ("agnipariksha") over which leaves of plants coated with oil were kept, her lawyer Santosh Khoware has alleged.

Orders in this regard were issued by the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Rekha Chandravanshi, after a complaint by Poonam (25).

The court ordered registration of cases under Section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code against the woman's husband Kunal Oatkar, mother-in-law Tara and their two close relatives Leela and her son Sandeep, the complainant's lawyer said.

The complainant who belongs to the Kanjar community, got married to Kunal on December 13, 2007. After some time, her husband and her in-laws allegedly demanded Rs 2 lakh in the name of dowry and started harassing her physically and mentally, her lawyer said.

Later, they "suspected" her "character" and demanded that she "prove her chastity" in front of the local community panchayat.

When she and her parents refused to appear before the community panchayat which her in-laws called, panchayat heads gave a call to socially boycott them from all functions, the complainant said.

Her complaint stated that she and her family faced social boycott since February and nobody invited them for any function nor came to her parent's house.

Meanwhile, Kanjar community's Madhya Pradesh head, Shashi Khatabia termed the allegations levelled by Poonam against the panchayat as "hollow" and added that it had "nothing" to do with it.

She claimed that practices like "agnipariksha" were already "a thing of the past" and such traditions have "no relevance" in "modern" society.

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