In a shocking incident, a 25-year-old married woman was allegedly kept locked in a bathroom in Bihar's Darbhanga for the last three years by her husband and in-laws after she could not meet their dowry demands, police said on Monday.
The victim was rescued on Sunday by police from a house in Rambagh locality of Darbhanga town, around 140 km north-east of Patna.
Station House Officer Seema Kumari found her in tattered clothes, unkempt dry hair and with overgrown nails.
"The woman could barely open her eyes in the sunlight, as she had survived in darkness and dim light, closeted in the small space," Ms Kumari said.
"The woman revealed that she was thrown into the bathroom and locked there. She was not allowed to see her child, and given leftover food irregularly. It was as if her in-laws were seeking revenge for not bringing ample dowry and giving birth to a girl child," the SHO said.
The woman hails from Patsan village in Andrathadi police station area in Darbhanga district.
She was married to a Prabhat Kumar Singh in 2010. Soon after the marriage, her husband and in-laws allegedly started torturing her for more dowry, police said.
The torture increased when the dowry demands were not met and worsened when she gave birth to a girl child.
"She was never allowed to meet her parents. When her relatives visited Darbhanga to meet her, they were dissuaded or shooed away. She was also barred from interacting with any outsider," Ms Kumari said.
"She immediately asked for her three-year-old daughter and wept inconsolably when the child could not recognise her," the SHO said.
The woman was rescued after much effort by her father Shyam Sundar Singh, who had complained to Darbhanga Senior Superintendent of Police Kumar Ekle, who in turn instructed the woman inspector to pursue the case immediately.
The police has registered an FIR against the women's husband, father-in-law Dhirendra Singh and mother-in-law Indra Devi. They have been taken into custody.