CHANDIGARH: More than 30,000 women in Punjab and Haryana are at their wits' end after being deserted by their NRI husbands within days or months of their marriage. Known as 'honeymoon brides', they poured out their woes at an event here today, with most of them saying that the police hardly registered cases under proper sections on their complaints. The women added that they also have difficulties getting lookout circulars issued against the deserters or getting their passports suspended.
The Regional Passport Officer (RPO) of Chandigarh Sibash Kabiraj said, "In the last one year we have suspended 370 passports of such NRIs, revoked 21 passports and got 52 people deported. Now we will be sending the information about these wife-deserters to the law enforcement agencies in the respective countries besides their employers and also to the Indian embassies so that they can accordingly take action and force them to return."
Ankita Mittal, undersecretary in the ministry of external affairs, said, "The government has brought a bill in parliament in February this year which is yet to be passed. This bill proposes to revoke the passports of NRI men abandoning their wives in India. Under this new law, the registration of marriage will be mandatory within a month. Also, all the notices, summons and warrants issued by the courts against these men will be deemed to be served after they are put up on a website being designed by the MEA. If the person fails to appear in court on the given date, his passport can be cancelled and his property in India seized."
The NRI wing of the Punjab Police has registered 103 cases till now this year compared to 167 cases last year and 154 in 2017. The highest number of cases are registered in Mohali (SAS Nagar) and Ludhiana districts -- this year there have been 17 in Mohali and 16 in Ludhiana till date, while last year there were 30 in Mohali and 25 in Ludhiana. "Most of the complaints pertain to matrimonial and property dispute cases. The only problem is that complaints are often made against people living abroad, so it takes time to record their statements as due procedure has to be followed,’’ said Additional DGP (Law and Order and NRI Wing) Ishwar Singh.
Justice Rakesh Kumar Garg (Retd), Chairperson of State Commission for NRIs, Punjab, said, "The NRI Commission was constituted to look after their (NRI) problems back home. Cases involving property disputes are common. But cases of deserted brides are increasing day by day. Parents are keen to send their daughters abroad and thus do not check the background of the boys."
Satwinder Kaur Satti, president of the NGO Abandoned Brides by NRI Husbands Internationally, said, "As per estimates, around 32,000 brides have been deserted by their husbands in Punjab. In many cases, the NRIs who come here to marry are already married. They just come for the dowry so that they can start a business there. In some instances, NRIs have just stayed with their wife for three days and flown back never to return. Some come back after a few months, stay for a few days and go back but never take their wife abroad."