India
The abuse of the dowry tradition has been one of the main reasons for sex-selective abortions and female infanticides in India.Getty Images

Indian police officials confirmed that a 25-year-old woman was locked up in a bathroom by her husband and in-laws, for the last three years, for failing to bring adequate dowry.

Dowry is a custom that involves giving cash and/or other gifts to a bridegroom's family at the time of a marriage.

The female victim was rescued by police from a house in the Darbhanga town, which is 140 kilometres east of the Indian city Patna, Times of India reported.

The woman was found with overgrown nails, unkempt dry hair and damaged clothes.

"The woman could barely open her eyes in the sunlight, as she had survived in darkness and dim light, closeted in the small space. 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 for giving birth to a girl child," said Seema Kumari, the station house officer where the woman was brought in.

Police officials said that the victim was married to Prabhat Kumar Singh in 2010 but soon after the wedding, she was allegedly repeatedly tortured by her husband and in-laws and told to bring in more dowry.

When the dowry demands were unmet and she gave birth to a baby girl, she was locked up.

"She was never allowed to go meet her parents. When her relatives visited Darbhanga to meet her, they were dissuaded or shooed away.

"She was also barred from interacting with anybody from outside. She immediately asked for her three-year-old daughter and wept inconsolably when the child could not recognize her," said Kumari.

The victim was eventually rescued by police after her father Shyam Sundar Singh filed a complaint at the Darbhanga police station.

A legal complaint has been filed against the victim's husband, father-in-law Dhirendra Singh and mother-in-law Indra Devi, and they have all been taken into custody.

Despite, dowry being prohibited under The 1961 Dowry Prohibition Act in Indian civil law, the illegal practise still continues placing considerable financial burden on the bride's family.

Dowry has also been cited as one of the reasons for South Asian families resorting to sex selection in favour of sons.