Dowry Harassment of brides is Most Shameful actThe patriotic website IndiaCause.com reported on July 5, 2007 that the residents of Rajkot city in Gujarat were shocked on Wednesday when a woman walked on a busy road semi-nude to protest against dowry harassment.
Pooja Chauhan, 22, alleged that her husband and in-laws were harassing her for dowry and for bearing a girl child. Soon after Pooja’s protest, police arrested her husband Pratap Singh Chauhan and his parents.
Shocked residents saw Pooja in her undergarments and carrying a baseball bat and bangles in her hands, marching on the busy Race Course Road.
The Times of India reports Pooja married Chauhan three years ago and her in-laws kept demanding more dowry. The harassment increased when she gave birth to a daughter eight months ago.
She left home five months ago and started living on her own with her daughter, it said. The newspaper reports Pooja intended to march to the Police Commissioner’s office but went home after learning that the officer was out of town.
Police sources said Pooja had a love marriage with Pratapsinh, a resident of Gandhigram area, about three years ago, but her in-laws kept harassing her for dowry. The harassment increased when she gave birth to a daughter eight months ago. She finally left home five months ago and has been living on her own with her daughter, Anjali.
Sources said police inaction on her complaints had driven her to stage such a protest. "When her complaint against her in-laws failed to evoke any response, she tried to immolate herself at the office of the police commissioner last Friday but police personnel stopped her," said a source in the commissionerate.
Here are some more links to stories related to the suffering of Indian women.
- Indian woman strips in dowry row
- How some NRI ( non resident Indians) dupe Indian brides and ruin their whole lives
Here are more details about Pooja.But now there’s a fresh twist to the case.
The National Commission for Women says it wasn’t dowry harassment, but sexual exploitation that forced Pooja into walking the streets in her undergarments.
"She was misused by various people. There must've been a trafficking chain. These are people exploiting young girls in their vulnerable situation. We have one or two names given to us by Pooja. We've given it to the police commissioner,” says NCW member, Malini Bhattacharya.
NCW found Pooja was a victim of child trafficking and despite her love marriage with her husband Pratap, she was again pressured into taking to flesh trade.
“I was sick of my mother-in-law and husband. I am so sick, I don't care even if I die now,” says Pooja.
Meanwhile, the city police is probing the domestic violence case registered against Pooja's in-laws.
Rajkot police commissioner Nityanandan told CNN-IBN that though police have no information about trafficking and prostitution angle, they will wait for the NCW report to decide on further course of action.
Law catches up with in-laws
Pooja’s husband Pratap, mother-in-law Hansa and two neighbours were arrested on harassment charges immediately after the news report and are currently out on bail.
They were summoned by a Rajkot court on July 8 and were asked to respond to Pooja's plea for the demand of alimony and social, mental and physical protection.
Pooja - who went underground after making news - is currently staying with her parents in Rajkot.
The court also ordered police to provide protection to Pooja and also said she should be allowed to continue staying in her rented accommodation.
The court's order directed her landlord in Shastrinagar, where Pooja stayed for the past year with her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, not to ask her to vacate the house.
Meanwhile, NCW says its top priority is to rehabilitate Pooja and her daughter.