23-year-old Saesha from Bengaluru wore the perfect lehenga for her wedding to NRI groom Vishwan. Her parents had found the groom on a matriomonial website which advertised him as a rich NRI man. Looking no further and lured by a prospect of wealth and secure future for Saesha, the bride and groom exchanged garlands, gold and lots of money on their wedding day.
Her husband flew to the UK, a day after their wedding. Months turned into a year, the henna from her hands faded and so did hope of her husband returning to start a family. That’s when they realised they were duped – their money was gone and so was their groom.
SOLUTION TO THIS SCAM
The External Affairs ministry has been besieged with such complaints by wives saying that their NRI husbands have deserted them once their needs were met. Now a committee report mentions that NRIs who harass and/ or desert their wives may end up having their passports impounded or cancelled. So in this case, if the passport of an NRI man is impounded in this case, if he is abroad, he will be deported to India and if he is in the country then the culprit will not be able to travel abroad.
The committee constituted by the ministry of external affairs had come up with this suggestion, reported the Hindustan Times. The report also talked how the committee was recommending the EA ministry to consider even extradition of errant husbands in cases where they thought escaping to another country would save them from the law.
THE STATISTICAL TRUTH
In the north, you have the brides of Canada-loving Punjabi men pining away in India, left to their devices by husbands who decamped with money and their dreams. In November last year, the Telangana State Commission for Women has estimated that there are around 50 cases in Telangana and 200 cases countrywide, of marriages to non-resident Indian men, where the husband has abandoned his wife. An even older, 2009 report by the National Commission for Women says that out of 10 NRI marriages, two result in the wife being abandoned after the honeymoon period.
Most of the complaints to the MEA talk about husbands preventing their wives from accessing their passports, going missing after the marriage and abandoning them in foreign countries.
Down South, you have Gulf wives in Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra and Telangana who spend most of their time either languishing in their parents’ house while the husband is abroad - sometimes providing for the family and most of the times, missing from the happy family picture frame.
This practice of gaining NRI grooms has been a status symbol of sorts, in south India. The woman’s family pay heavy dowry, exchange property and money hoping their daughter’s future will be secured with this advance payment, but the real story of abuse, torture and abandonment begins soon after the vows are exchanged and in some cases before even the marriage is consummated.
Parents feel foreign money equals financial security and a wealthy future for their daughters. However, if the wedding turns out to be a sham, even before the henna dries on their palms, either their daughters are dead or back home at their doorstep