NEWS

 Safety net for girls marrying NRIs

Times of India, Seethalakshmi S | TNN

Bangalore: If youre actively engaged in arranging your daughters marriage to an NRI, the National Commission for Womens proposals should give you some peace of mind. Your prospective son-inlaw may have to compulsorily include her name in his passport.

This is one of the NCWs proposed guidelines following the increasing number of fraudulent marriages in which NRI men overseas have duped families and left girls in the lurch. The NCW has noticed a disturbing trend: easy dissolution of such marriages by courts abroad even though the wedlock was solemnised in India as per Indian laws. Currently, there is no comprehensive and special law to govern this issue, specially due to jurisdictional issues to decide matrimonial cases. The girls family has nowhere to go when things go wrong. Its time we put a law in place, official sources told STOI.

The NCW recommended the Passport Act be amended to have the following provisions : cancellation of passport of offending NRI spouse, include detailed particulars of spouse in passports apart from attaching her photograph, update passports of NRI men after marriage to include marital status and to make a stricter offence for fake/ false passport.

The report which is under discussion has spelt out guidelines for all stakeholders , including parents.

For the police and law-enforcing agencies to deal with cases/ complaints arising out of NRI marriages, including suppression of marital status by NRI grooms and initiate action under Indian Penal Code or Criminal Procedure Code.

The NCW has also proposed that properties be attached and initiate action against parents and relatives who refuse to divulge or feign ignorance on the whereabouts of their son.

KEEP THIS IN MIND

Dont finalize matters over long distance, on phone or through email

Dont blindly trust any bureau, agent, tout or middleman

Dont fall for any schemes which enable migration to another country, or promises green card through marriage.

Dont finalize matters in secrecy. Make the proposal public among near and dear ones as friends and close relatives could help you get vital information

Dont agree to only a registered marriage or getting the marriage solemnised in a faroff place

Dont agree on marriage taking place abroad

 Love aaj kal

Bangalore Mirror, August 14, 2009 by Hemant Kashyap

A 18-year-old girl, an engineering student, gets an accidental SMS, calls back out of curiosity, is charmed by the man at the other end and soon is sense-over-stilettos in love with him. Too late, she finds out that she's in the clutches of a hardened criminal

The mystery of love never ceases to amaze. Just when we think we have seen it all, here comes something that strains credulity. An SMS, accidentally sent to the wrong person, triggered a passionate relationship between an 18-yearold engineering student, daughter of a rich businessman, and a hardened rowdy doing time.

The love initially blossomed without rowdy Naveen revealing his true identity. The man soon came out of central jail in Parappana Agrahara on bail and started going out with Neha (name changed). But thereafter, the story dramatically deviated from what Bollywood would have scripted. After a while, Neha learnt of Naveen's criminal past but not before the latter had forced her to marry him and things had irrevocably changed for the young woman.

Notorious Rowdy

Naveen Kumar (23), a 12th standard drop-out from J P Nagar, has since 2006 been an associate of notorious criminals Cycle Ravi and Parandhama. Cycle Ravi is wanted by the city police in many cases of murder and kidnapping. Naveen initially was Parandhama's henchman, but became loyal to Cycle Ravi after Parandhama was eliminated in an encounter with the city police. Naveen has been to jail many times for crimes like kidnapping, dacoity and attempt to murder. Since January 2009, he was in jail for a dacoity case in Bangalore South.

SMS sets it off

Naveen regularly used a mobile phone from inside the jail to manage his business outside. Three months ago, he sent a light-hearted message to one of his friends, but the message went to Neha, an engineering student at a college in Nelamangala. Curious, Neha called back the unknown sender, and, the rest, was as much history as being trapped by a history sheeter.

Drama Unfolds

Neha, daughter of a rich businessman in J P Nagar and a brilliant student who scored 91 per cent in her 12th standard exams, had joined B E (Electronics) on a merit seat. Her parents had great hopes in her and wanted to send her abroad for higher studies.

But that SMS from rowdy Naveen changed it all. Without really knowing anything about him, Neha fell madly in love with him. In June, Naveen came out of jail on bail and then they started meeting up every day. Every morning, she used to leave home early and he took her to college. This continued for a month. Not once did she suspect him.

Then, on 27th July, he asked her to go with him to Tamil Nadu. While travelling, he told her that he planned to marry her right away. She demurred and said she had to speak to her parents first. But, according to police, he forcibly married her in Melukote on July 30 after coming back from Ooty. All this happened under the guidance of Cycle Ravi who was in constant touch with N a v e e n . Ravi, who is absconding from the police, came to Melukote for the wedding with all his men. At the wedding, he boasted about his and Naveen's violent exploits to the aghast girl.

Curtains Down

A shocked Neha soon managed to phone her parents. Her parents had by then filed a missing person complaint with the J P Nagar police. Following Neha's call, they lodged a kidnap case.

Finally, a J P Nagar police team headed by Sub Inspector Manoj Kumar arrested Naveen from Tamil Nadu. The girl was handed over to her parents. But all is not over, since Naveen had already legally married Neha and the whole ceremony has been video recorded by Cycle Ravi and Co. Neha's parents and the police fear that the rowdies might still find some way to get the girl back in their clutches.

 Wed, duped, dumped

Wanganui Chronicle, Aug 06, 2009 by Rahul Bedi

CHANDIGARH, India - Jaswant Kaur is one of more than 15,000 'holiday wives' spread across India's northern Punjab state who, after years of abandonment, still awaits her husband's return from Britain.

A fortnight after their lavish wedding in the border district of Gurdaspur, Karamjit Singh - considered a prize 'catch' for most Punjabi parents wanting their daughters married as he was a non-resident Indian settled abroad - left for London.

He promised his excited 21-year-old bride, who had never left her small town, that he would send her immigration papers within weeks to enable her to join him.

The groom and his family also carried away Rs 700,000 ($21,867.73) in dowry and gold ornaments which the bride's parents had raised by mortgaging their small plot of land and house.

Eleven years later, Jaswant Kaur still waits for news from her husband.

"We now learn that he already had a wife and two children in London when we were married" Kaur said.

"For him I was nothing but a sexual alliance and a source of gratification for his greed in the dowry.

"Along with my family, I stand disgraced socially as an abandoned bride. I have no recourse to any redress whatsoever."

Jaswant, however, is one of the luckier ones. Karamjit Kaur from nearby Jalandar, 400km north of New Delhi, was not as fortunate. Her husband Raghbir Singh left her with his parents and returned to his job in Dubai in December 2002 after carrying away the mandatory dowry.

Three months later Karamjit's in-laws attempted to kill her by setting her alight when her parents were unable to pay additional dowry, a mode of bride murder favoured by thousands of greedy Indian husbands and their families.

Her parents lodged a police case, but were harassed in turn.

"All the police were interested in was making money out of our misery. They are doing nothing to investigate Raghbir Singh and his parents," she said.

"Lust, dowry and the lure of settling abroad are responsible for the plight of thousands of these holiday wives across Punjab" said Daljit Kaur, a lawyer and activist.

There was no legislation to safeguard them from being duped and dumped by Punjabi grooms mostly from the West, particularly Britain and North America and the Gulf Sheikhdoms.

Some men even married three or four times, managing to flee safely each time because local police favoured the boys' families.

In some instances, police took five to six years to even register a formal complaint.

Since 2002, only a small fraction of the 15,000-odd female victims had managed to lodge cases. But police officials in state capital Chandigarh privately conceded that such cases are difficult, if not impossible, to investigate because once the man has left the country, extradition was given little or no priority.

There have also been several cases of overseas Punjabi grooms taking their wives back, insuring them for large sums and then bringing them back home to have them murdered.

India's tortuously slow and corrupt legal and police investigation structure was insurance against them being caught, although since the mid 1990s a handful of convictions had occurred but under pressure from overseas authorities.

Punjab's intensely patriarchal social structure has a distinct gender bias against women, widely considered an economic liability as they need to be married off after payment of substantial dowries.

Abandoned brides become even more of a drain on their families.

"A woman who has been abandoned by her non-resident husband and returns to her parents' home is not welcome," said Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, head of the People's Welfare Society.

The children from such unions face even greater prejudice.

"Though social awareness programmes have been launched to educate people against this evil and the government lobbied to adopt more stringent laws, progress has been incremental" Kaur said.

 Scheme to aid duped Indian brides

BBC News, Delhi by Geeta Pandey

The Indian government has launched a new scheme to help women who are married and then abandoned by men of Indian origin living in the West.

The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs says women who are divorced or deserted within two years of marriage will be entitled to legal and financial aid.

According to one estimate, up to 20,000 women have been abandoned by their non-resident Indian (NRI) husbands.

Mostly, the husbands disappear after pocketing fat dowries paid at weddings.

An official in the ministry, SS Rana, told the BBC that women who needed help could approach Indian missions abroad directly or through non-governmental organisation approved by them.

"The deserted women will be given financial assistance of $1,000 for seeking legal help and will also be offered counselling," he said.

Initially this facility will be given to women who have been married for two years or less.

Migrant populations

But Mr Rana said: "If we get a large number of such cases where women are abandoned after the two-year deadline, we will review the time limit."

Officials say most cases of NRIs duping their Indian brides are reported in the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand - countries with substantial Indian migrant populations.

And most of the abandoned women come from the Punjab, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala - states which send out a large number of migrants to the West.

The deputy secretary in the National Commission for Women, Gurpreet Deo, says they have received several complaints where after marriage a woman goes abroad with her husband only to find that her husband is already married.

"In many cases, men claim they hold fantastic jobs abroad, but when the wife goes, she realises that he is either out of work or does some odd jobs," she says.

Then there are "holiday brides".

Ms Deo says: "In these cases, NRIs come to India for a holiday, get married, pocket the dowry, and then disappear without leaving a trace."

With their dreams shattered, the duped women have to grapple not just with emotional scars, but with the practicalities of being abandoned.

Sometimes they also have to deal with pregnancy and worry about bringing up children on their own.

Highly coveted

Because of social stigma, they are unable to remarry.

In India a financially well-established son-in-law living in the UK, US or Canada is highly coveted.

A Green Card holder in the US [which gives a foreigner right of residency and right to work] or one possessing a similar document in the UK or Canada or other Western countries is regarded as a "good catch".

Ms Deo says the reason why NRIs get away after duping their wives is "because in their greed to send their daughters abroad, most parents don't do enough verification. There is very little awareness about these problems".

Once dumped, there is little these women can do.

Ms Deo says: "Because there are extra-territorial boundaries involved, most women are left in the lurch when their NRI husbands run away. There is no legal way to get them back.

"The police are often reluctant to file a case. And even if they do, and the court issues a summons, how do you deliver the summons on foreign territory? The court can order confiscation of property, but what about those NRIs who do not own property in India?"

The National Commission for Women is now demanding tougher laws to deal with such cases.

The commission has also called on the Indian government to sign extradition treaties with foreign countries so that the runaway grooms can be brought back to India and tried in a court of law.

"Domestic violence or matrimonial offences at present are not extraditable offences. We need to address that," Ms Deo says.

 NRI husband's passport no could be stamped on wife's passport

New Delhi, May 6

In a bid to curb cases of women getting duped or harassed in marriages to NRIs, the Government is considering a proposal to make it mandatory for the husband's passport number to be stamped on the wife's passport.

The proposal has been made by the ministry of women and child development in the wake of a rise in complaints about women getting abandoned, harassed or cheated by their NRI husbands.

The ministry is of the view that inclusion of the husband's passport number in the wife's passport will aid in tracing him.

"Right now, only the husband's name and address are mentioned in the wife's passport. Provisions should be made to include the husband's passport number too," a senior ministry official said.

The move will help trace the husband in case of desertion, abandonment or ex-parte divorce, he said.

The ministry has also proposed that all NRI marriages be registered under the Special Marriage Act.

"Registration under the Special Marriage Act will give more power to women as the NRI husband cannot escape easily in case of any dispute by taking the help of foreign laws," the official said.

The Government is also considering going in for special agreements with other nations, including working out a set-up whereby a divorce order passed by a court in a foreign country in respect of an NRI husband and an Indian wife would have to be endorsed by an Indian court.

The ministry of overseas Indian affairs has, meanwhile, formed a six-member sub-committee with officials from the ministries of law, home affairs and women and child sevelopment and representatives from the states of Punjab and Andhra Pradesh to look into problems encountered in NRI marriages.

Over 30,000 Indian women have been abandoned by their NRI husbands, and 15,000 of them are from the Doab region of Punjab alone. (PTI)

 Online Marriage Fraud Is Booming In India, pose as NRI

PTI, Oct 05, 2007 by Kamal Narayan

One Liaquat who allegedly cheated more than fifty women into marriage

With the online match making getting popular in the country, increasing number of cyber duping cases has become the matter of great concern to the matrimonial web sites who plead helplessness beyond a point in checking the menace.

The matrimonial sites came under scanner after the arrest of one Liaquat who allegedly cheated more than fifty women into marriage in Chennai in recently. He advertised himself as a UK-based Indian engineer looking for a bride in an online marriage portal. "We are cautious about the increasing misuse of matrimonial web sites, this has forced us to undertake some additional precautionary measures as verifying the phone numbers and residence addresses of each user and maintaining are cord of family background," says Murugavel Janakiraman of BharatMatrimony.Com.

Matrimonial web sites have become the preferred option for the soul mate seekers in the country and abroad, according to an online survey. It is a huge business and the websitesdon't want to let their clients down by the acts some criminal minded people who use the sites pervertedly. Meanwhile, the alarming growth of cyber crime poses threat to the society as their global growth rate is purportedly four per cent per week.

Vivek Sood, an expert of Criminal and Cyber Law, says cyber crime is a menace for the global society as it jumps the geographical boundaries speedily and its perpetrators are almost invisible as there are rare chances to catch them.

According to Sood, the numbers of cyber crime increased from 640 in year 1993 to 2, 82,000 cases in year 2000.

In a bid to remove the fear of their users, and to convince them for safety, one of the major online match making service provider in the country, SimplyMarry.com says they use the robust engine to support security of all the particulars, photos, contact details, personal information,and any fact about users.

Murugavel whose BharatMatrimony.com has recently completed its ten years of functioning, felt that a Internet based matrimonial service provider can't go beyond a proper limit in carrying out security checks, so it is equally crucial for the users to remain vigilant.

"Conduct a proper verification check, involve your parents and relatives, avoid solitary meetings and never share much of your personal information while proceeding with online match seeking," suggests Murugavel.

The Matrimonial market has registered a boom in India as its ongoing fiscal year business estimates around Rs 140 crores after taking a giant leap from Rs 70-80 crores in last year. It has evolved into a mature and popular service provider as twelve million users which constitute about half of the urban online users undertake matrimony search, an online survey reveals.

The survey, conducted by JuxtConsult, an online research agency, claims that matrimonial search is the second largest gainer among online activities as it has registered growth of 33 per cent during the last year only.

Increasing popularity of matrimonial search among the match seekers has made the matrimonial market more competitive as the number of these portals increasing after every day.

"We are metro-centric site that caters to soul mate seekers of India and the NRI population. It is for, simple, safer and uncomplicated soul mate search that provides ideal matches very fast," says the official Spokesperson forSimplyMarry.com.