Bride turns down "dark" groom

PATNA, India Sun May 20, 2007 12:46pm EDT

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PATNA, India (Reuters) - Turned down for marriage due to his dark complexion, an Indian man staged a hunger strike outside his would be bride's house for two days before she finally relented, an official said Saturday.

Saral Prasad, the 23-year-old groom in eastern Bihar state, said he would not budge from the girl's village home after she refused to marry him earlier this week in an arranged marriage because he was too dark.

Rajani, 19, changed her mind after two days and the couple got married, Arun Kumar Mishra, a village council official said.

"We were all taken by surprise but Rajani was finally moved by the gesture of the young man and married him," Mishra said.

Most Indian women, especially those in rural areas, often have no choice in matters of marriage, and are coerced into it by relatives and parents.

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