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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 November, 2003, 14:51 GMT
Three 'weddings' and no dowry

By Monica Chadha
BBC correspondent in Delhi

A young bride who became the talk of India last May when she got her bridegroom arrested for demanding dowry money has finally tied the knot, this time without a hitch.

On Wednesday, 22-year-old Nisha Sharma exchanged wedding vows with a computer engineer chosen by her parents in a simple Vedic ceremony at her residence in a suburb of the Indian capital, Delhi.

Nisha Sharma
Nisha Sharma - a simple ceremony for an arranged marriage
But even as she did so, both the man she had arrested in May and another previous suitor were claiming that they are already lawfully married to her.

Giving and receiving dowry is a punishable offence by law in India but still widely practiced in most traditional weddings.

Nisha called the police during the May wedding ceremony after hearing that fighting had broken out between the two families as her groom asked for some $25,000 cash as a dowry.

Her action made her a darling of the media, women activists and politicians throughout the land.

They all portrayed her as a role model and youth icon for other women. She was even asked to speak in public on the issue of dowry.

Parental duty

Nisha's father, Devdutt Sharma, told the BBC after Wednesday's successful wedding ceremony that he was now a relieved man.

"Getting his daughter married is the primary duty of a father," he said.

"I am glad I have managed to fulfil it."

Mr Sharma said the wedding had been a simple affair with only 75 guests present at the function. He said the food served was basic as were the marriage arrangements.

And he made it clear that no dowry was exchanged between the two families.

Starting afresh

Nisha herself was unavailable for comment and according to Mr Sharma, will not be talking to the media in the near future.

"She spoke to me today and asked me not to give her number out to the press," Mr Sharma said. "She said she wants to leave the past behind and start afresh."

However, it seems the past, and the men in it, do not want to leave her.

The groom arrested in May, Munish Dalal, filed a case before the wedding against Nisha stating that she is still lawfully wedded to him and so could not get married again without divorcing him.

Another former boyfriend, Navneet Rai, has also claimed that Nisha is lawfully married to him and cannot marry anyone else.

Mr Sharma told the BBC that he had not received any court summons regarding these two cases.

Whatever course the law takes, Nisha's millions of admirers will be hoping she is on her way to marital bliss.

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23 Sep 02  |  South Asia

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