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Sushma Swaraj Helps Russian Woman Reunite With Husband In Agra

A Russian woman in Agra, who had accused her in-laws of harassment was "united" with her family on Sunday evening after an intervention by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

Olga Efimenkova had said she had been on a hunger strike outside her home since yesterday after her mother-in-law threw her out of her house because she did not bring any dowry. Her husband Vikrant and a three-year-old daughter were also not allowed in, she said. Her mother-in-law, Nirmala Chandel, however, said had she does not want Ms Efimenkova to come home because of cultural differences.

After the woman's plight was reported by local news networks, foreign minister Swaraj Swaraj tweeted to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, saying "Akhilesh ji, please help this lady". Responding later in the evening, Mr Yadav tweeted, "Yes we are." A few hours after the exchange, Mr Yadav's office tweeted a photo of the re-united family saying, "The lady has been united with the family after counselling the in-laws."

Ms Efimenkova has done her post-graduation in Chinese philosophy from the Russian State University in Moscow. She was about to pursue a doctorate in Confucianism but she fell in love and married Vikrant, who ran a beach-side restaurant in Goa, in 2011. She lives with her husband in Goa and came to visit her in-laws last month. As differences flared in the family, her mother-in-law allegedly forced them to move out yesterday, saying she would only let her in if she brought dowry.

"These people are torturing me mentally. They say you have no clothes, you have no food in your home, you did not bring anything as your dowry. They say you're an outsider, you can't do anything here, we'll throw you out," Ms Efimenkova had said. Denying charges of dowry harassment, her mother-in-law Nirmala Chandel said, "She (Olga) gambles, she drinks, she uses drugs. They take away whatever money I manage to save. I only live in one room of the house. The rest of it belongs to my daughter."

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