Videos and images of the incident showed the woman in a dishevelled and malnourished state as she was carried from the rooftop toilet in the city of Panipat on Tuesday.
Speaking to The Independent, the officer in charge of the Women Protection and Child Marriage Prohibition unit that carried out the rescue said “it looked like she had not eaten anything for days”.
“I received confidential information that a woman was locked in the toilet for over a year. When we reached there, we found that it was true,” officer Rajni Gupta said.
The woman’s husband has been booked by the local police on charges of domestic violence and wrongful confinement, but is currently out on bail after a magistrate’s court hearing the day after the rescue operation.
He denied the accusations, telling The Independent his wife was not well. “She was mentally unstable. I used to ask her to sit outside but she would herself go sit in the toilet. We have taken her to doctors but there was no improvement in her condition,” he said.
The local police officials have so far not recovered any medical documents that supports the husband’s claim.
“It is being said that she is mentally unstable, but we cannot confirm it at the moment. The family has so far not produced any medical records backing the assertion and the investigators are still looking into it,” said Ms Gupta.
She added that the investigators are seeking a medical opinion but they do not have a final report as yet. “Having said that, one can also not deny that if someone is locked in a toilet for over a year, it is bound to take a toll on mental health,” she said.
While the woman is now living with her cousins, the officials are also concerned about her three children, who are currently residing with their father.
“We are trying to find out why the children did not raise an alarm or complaint about their father’s behaviour to the other family members or any administrative body. We are, therefore, counselling them through Child Welfare Committee,” said Ms Gupta.