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Semi-nude marcher told to leave home

The 22-year-old woman, who stripped to protest harassment by her husband and in-laws, has been asked to vacate her rented home, reports Haresh Pandya.
Hindustan Times | By Haresh Pandya
UPDATED ON JUL 06, 2007 02:11 AM IST

The 22-year-old woman who stripped to her underwear in public to protest harassment by her husband and in-laws, has been asked to vacate her rented home.

Pooja Chauhan had moved out of her husband’s home with her two-year-old daughter following prolonged harassment. Police inspector Sadarsinh Zala said she had been persuaded to go to her parents’ home.

On Wednesday, the police acted on Pooja’s unique protest, and arrested her husband, in-laws and two others she had named as her tormentors. The police also said they wouldn’t press charges of indecent behaviour against her, as she had already punished herself enough.

"My husband and in-laws started torturing me mentally and physically from the day I gave birth to a girl," Pooja said. "They began demanding a huge dowry. When I couldn’t take it any longer, I began to live separately."

A semi-clad Pooja walked the streets for nearly an hour on Wednesday, carrying a baseball bat and some bangles. "My husband and in-laws sent two of their neighbours to attack me," she said. "I wanted the police to arrest them all and smash their heads with this bat and make them wear the bangles."

DCP Khursheed Ahmed told Hindustan Times, "It was because of Pooja’s unbearable life that she was forced to strip." Zala added, "There is no question of filing a case against her. She is a victim of circumstances."

Pooja’s in-laws have said she is mentally retarded, something her parents have denied.

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