Indian man chained for defying father in marriage

KOLKATA, India Fri May 11, 2007 8:17am EDT

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KOLKATA, India (Reuters) - Police in eastern India have rescued a Muslim man who had been shackled in chains for a month for marrying his childhood lover against the wishes of his father and village clerics, authorities said Friday.

Raghu Amin, 21, was locked in a dingy room by his father in a village in the state of West Bengal after he publicly announced his marriage to 18-year-old Sehnaaz Khatoon, who came from a poorer and lower class family, police said.

"He was chained throughout and even served food in this condition as punishment," said police officer Jay Biswas.

Police came to Raghu's rescue Thursday evening in Baduria village, 70 km (40 miles) north of the state capital Kolkata, after his wife lodged a complaint.

Raghu's father has been arrested on charges of wrongful confinement and police said they were looking for some village clerics who they suspected were also involved.

In India, most marriages are still arranged by parents of the bride and groom who often look for compatibility in religion, caste and class. Couples breaking from this tradition are sometimes ostracized by their families and even face violence.