India brides leave husbands' homes for lack of toilets

some of the women who left their husbands' homes for lack of toilets The women said they would return only after their husbands had built proper toilets at home

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Six newlywed women in a village in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have returned to their parents because their husbands' homes had no toilets.

The women, all from Khesiya village in Kushinagar district, said they would return only after their husbands had built proper toilets at home.

Nearly half of India's 1.2 billion people have no toilets at home.

Campaigners say the problem is acute in rural India and it is the women who suffer most.

One of the brides, Gudiya, told BBC Hindi that it was very troublesome to go to the fields.

"My parents have a toilet at home, but there is no toilet in my husband Ramesh Sharma's home. Going outdoors was a big hassle, so I fought with him and returned to my parents."

Neelam Sharma, Sakina, Seeta, Nazrum Nisa and Kalavati are the others who have left their marital homes for the same reason.

Ashima Parveen, who lives in Khesiya village, said all six women had wed in the past year or 18 months.

"In villages, it is not easy for a new bride to step out of her home because here people believe in the purdah [covering the face with a veil]. In this weather when it's raining and there is water logging everywhere, it gets very difficult for these women to go out to the fields."

A lack of toilets also exposes women to a risk of attack.

In his Independence Day speech last Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed to end open defecation.

"We are in the 21st Century and yet there is still no dignity for women as they have to go out in the open to defecate and they have to wait for darkness to fall," he said.

"Can you imagine the number of problems they have to face because of this?" he asked.

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