A political controversy was triggered in Madhya Pradesh after condoms and birth control pills were found in make-up kits gifted to brides during a mass marriage programme under a government scheme in Jhabua district on Monday.
Earlier, as many as 296 couples tied the knot under the Mukhyamantri Kanya Vivah/Nikah Yojana, and when the make-up boxes/kits gifted to the newly married brides were opened, packets of condoms and birth-control pills were found alongside the make-up products.
Attacking the government, the Congress said this was an insult to both women and tribals. “It’s not just the distribution of these boxes and kits, but the videos are deliberately being shot to brazenly advertise this. We had seen earlier too that tribal women had to undergo pregnancy test at a mass marriage in Dindori. Does the BJP government not care about the dignity of women and tribals,” said Piyush Babele, media adviser to State Congress president Kamal Nath.
Jhabua is a tribal-dominated district, however, the community-wise break up of the couples who were married under the scheme was not available.
Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Neha Bagga hit back at these allegations, clarifying that the Nayi Pahal kits that carry the contraceptives are being distributed to newly-weds as part of new guidelines of the National Health Mission for educating newly married couples about family planning.
“Be it urban or rural areas, such awareness is always going to be beneficial for every couple. The Congress needs to clarify, as to whether it’s against educating newly-wed couples about family planning,” she tweeted.
Meanwhile, the in-charge chief executive officer of Thandla Nagar Palika Parishad, Bhoor Singh Rawat, said he or his department had nothing to do with the kits and it was possible that those were gifted by the Health department as a part of its family planning promotional efforts.