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Wednesday, 30 August, 2000, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
Woman chained over dowry demand
Women in Rajasthan
The practice of dowry is widespread in states such as Rajasthan
Police in India have arrested the husband and mother-in-law of a woman kept captive and tortured over a dowry dispute.

The 20-year old woman, known as Geegu, was chained to a bed for two months by her in-laws in a village in the desert state of Rajasthan.

Indian media reports said she was beaten frequently and underwent near starvation.

The family of her husband, Ram Singh, was afraid she might desert him because he was impotent, the Indian Express newspaper reported Geegu as saying.

On Monday, she escaped from her home after her mother-in-law forgot to secure her manacles.

Tortured

She caught a bus to the Rajasthani city of Jodhpur, where the sight of her disembarking from a bus with her feet manacled drew a crowd of onlookers.

Indian women
Women have been tortured over inadequate dowry
A sympathetic auto-rickshaw driver took her to a special women's police station - created to deal with crimes against women - where she narrated her experience.

Jodhpur Superintendent of Police, Bhupendra Singh, was notified and he ordered the arrest of Mr Singh and his mother.

A case has been lodged against the family.

Geegu, whose parents are poor Rajasthani villagers, was married to Ram Singh in 1998.

She said she was tortured after she failed to meet her in-laws' demands for dowry and said she was denied enough food.

The giving or receiving of dowry - usually money or gifts to is illegal in India and is punishable under Indian law.

But the practice remains widespread in both rural and urban India with cases of women being tortured and even burned to death by their husbands and in-laws.

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See also:

14 Jun 00 | South Asia
South Asian women 'vulnerable'
01 Jun 00 | South Asia
Jail crisis for dowry crimes
24 Nov 99 | South Asia
Wives abused in India
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