This Article is From May 11, 2012

UP bride runs away for lack of proper toilet

UP bride runs away for lack of proper toilet
Lucknow: Lack of a proper toilet is least of the reasons for which a young woman would revolt. Not at least in Uttar Pradesh's countryside where half the population is forced to defecate out in the open.

But for Priyanka, a Class 12 student in Maharajganj district, 365 km from Lucknow, lack of a toilet was a big challenge.

So much so that she refused to stay in the house of her in-laws and ran away on the third night after her gauna - the traditional formal induction of a bride married in childhood.

Talking to IANS on telephone, the girl said that she ran away from Vishunpur Khurd on April 13, demanding her in-laws to build a toilet to get their bahu back.

While she says that the toilet is still under construction, she found it shameful to go out in the open at her in-laws' place every morning.

"Sir, I felt very embarrassed as many villagers were there in the open. So one day I ran away," the bride said on the phone.

Married to Amarjeet, in 2007, she said that she wants to live honourably and would like the toilet to be made before she decides to go back to her hubby.

Unless that happens, "I will stay at my father's house".

Her father, a driver, who lives in Kanchanpur Kuiya, says that he supports the will of her daughter and does not mind keeping her home till a proper toilet comes up at his son-in-law's house.

Ram Jeevat, father-in-law of Priyanka, admitted that he was initially taken aback at the demand of his daughter-in-law and was furious that she had disappeared.

He told IANS that a little later he understood the trauma that his daughter-in-law must be going through as his own daughters - 17-year-old Sangeeta and 12-year-old Pana - shared similar ordeals with him.

"What to do, Sir, I am an unemployed man. How do I construct a proper toilet?"

Priyanka's desire for a toilet seems to have been heard. Sanitation NGO Sulabh International has decided to reward her Rs.2 lakh besides getting an ultra modern toilet with a bathroom constructed at her new home, at their cost.

Hailing her as a "revolutionary of a different kind", Sulabh Founder Bindeshwar Pathak said the girl's flight was an "act of inspiration for others to follow".

Priyanka said that she had heard of the reward but she was yet to get the money.

"I am awaiting both (toilet and money). I would only return to my husband when I get a proper toilet there," she insisted.

Uttar Pradesh has been rocked by an alleged 'toilet scam' of Rs 2900 crore, with money meant to build toilets in villages allegedly siphoned off.

Instead of 7.8 million toilets that were to come up, only a few thousands have been constructed.

The Akhilesh Yadav-government has ordered a probe into the matter and a physical verification of the toilets has been ordered.