Indian woman granted divorce over husband’s failure to build a toilet at home

It is not the first time a marriage has been called off over a toilet. (Shutterstock)
Updated 21 August 2017
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Indian woman granted divorce over husband’s failure to build a toilet at home

DUBAI: A woman in India has been granted permission to divorce her husband over his failure to build a toilet in their home, which forced her to relieve herself in nearby fields.
The family court in the northwestern state of Rajasthan ruled in favor of the woman on Friday after she argued that her husband’s failure to provide an indoor toilet during their five years of marriage amounted to cruelty.
Indian media reported that the woman had filed for divorce in 2015.
A report in the Times of India quoted the court’s judgement as saying: “We spend money on buying tobacco, liquor and mobile phones, but are unwilling to construct toilets to protect the dignity of our family.
“In villages, women have to wait until sunset to answer nature’s call. This is not only physical cruelty but also outraging the modesty of a woman.”
Justice Rajendra Kumar Sharma said women in villages often endured physical pain waiting until darkness to relieve themselves outdoors.
The judge labelled open defecation — a major health problem in India — disgraceful and deemed it torture to deny women a safe environment for relief, the woman’s lawyer Rajesh Sharma told AFP.
Divorce is only granted in India if proof such as cruelty, violence or undue financial demands are shown in court.
It is not the first time a marriage has been called off over a toilet.
Last year a woman refused to tie the knot in Uttar Pradesh state after her fiancé refused to build a toilet for the couple.
Nearly half of India’s population — almost 600 million people — defecate in the open, according to UNICEF.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised to build a toilet in every home by 2019 in a bid to stamp out open defecation.
The government says 20 million toilets have been constructed since the start of the scheme in 2014.
— With AFP


Ancient Afghan citadel collapses, cultural heritage sites at risk

Updated 15 June 2019
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Ancient Afghan citadel collapses, cultural heritage sites at risk

  • The old citadel known as Ghaznain Fort originally had 36 towers, but 14 of the towers had collapsed in recent years
  • The fort is one of dozens of unique historic sites in Afghanistan in urgent need of protection

GHAZNI, Afghanistan: An ancient tower dating back 2,000 years in the historic Afghan city of Ghazni collapsed this week, local officials said, raising concerns about the vulnerability of the country’s cultural heritage and the government’s ability to protect them.
The old citadel known as Ghaznain Fort originally had 36 towers, but 14 of the towers had collapsed in recent years due to decades of war, heavy rain and neglect.
The fort is one of dozens of unique historic sites in Afghanistan — ranging from the pre-Islamic Buddhist center in the Bamyan valley to the 12th century minaret of Jam in a remote area of Ghor province — in urgent need of protection.
Officials in Ghazni, which nearly fell to the Taliban last year in some of the heaviest fighting seen in the war, said the tower collapsed on Tuesday following heavy rain. A short video posted on social media shows it crumbling but local residents say negligence also contributed to its collapse.
“The government paid no attention to the sites and didn’t build canals to divert flood water,” said Ghulam Sakhi, who lives near the citadel.
“We have warned the government about the dire condition of the citadel but no one visited,” Sakhi said.
Mahbubullah Rahmani, acting director of culture and information in Ghazni, said heavy rain and recent fighting had contributed to the tower’s collapse but said the government was working on a plan to protect the site from complete destruction.
He said a German archaeologist had worked at the site as recently as 2013.
Ghazni, a strategically vital center on the main highway between Kabul and southern Afghanistan and two hour drive from the capital, is home to a range of cultural and archaeological artefacts, some of which date back to pre-Islamic period.
The province and its cultural heritage was officially declared as Asian Capital of Islamic Culture in 2013 by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, a Morocco-based body created in 1981, supported by UNESCO.
The collapse of the tower in Ghazni follows concern over the condition of the 900-year-old Minaret of Jam, in Ghor, which has been on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Properties in Danger since 2002.
The Taliban during their austere regime from 1996-2001, before they were toppled by the US and coalition force in late 2001, blew up two giant Buddha statues in central Bamiyan province, calling them idols.