The Indian Government is mooting a new law to stop exploitation of NRI marriages.
Finally, the Government is considering not just legal redress of abandoned NRI wives but ensuring that errant suitors-turned-husbands are penalised for exploiting the marriage market at will. Both the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Women and Child Development have acted on years of complaint and data analytics to bring about a law in the Parliament’s next session that will get runaway husbands where it hurts most, their wherewithal to sustain themselves or their families. Summons/warrants will be issued online through a new MEA website as most husbands change their addresses or list fake ones. Anybody not responding to them will be declared a proclaimed offender and his properties, or those of his kin, will be seized. Of course, passports will be cancelled too. Though this government is committed to empowering its women constituency, somehow NRI wives have so far been outside actionable policies. Yet if the MEA data is to be believed, then at least one woman married to an NRI calls home every eight hours seeking help to return after being deserted by her husband or being subjected to ill-treatment and physical torture. Contrary to expectations, the figures have been growing for the last three years — 3,328 complaints were received since 2015 — pointing to a far deeper malaise about women who are being systematically exploited and abused in foreign shores, cut off from the protection and redressal systems at home and deliberately isolated from those available in host countries and at missions. THE WCD Ministry gets 10-12 complaints daily!
There are shocking tales of incarceration and captivity, especially among unsuspecting young brides of arranged marriages, who are consigned to housekeeping duties, lodged in shabby basements and stripped off vital papers with policed movements. Some of them are trafficked and inducted into the sex trade or made bonded labourers. Imprisoned and isolated, an independent phone line is their only link to the outside world. For the rural hinterland, marrying a daughter off to an NRI is still seen as social ascension and for the groom’s family reason enough to extort dowry as a passport to a privileged life. Educated women are as much victims and now with work visa curbs in countries like the US compromising their skills, they are at best subjected to economic servitude. More than 30,000 cases of abandoned wives are pending in Punjab alone. Our immigrant women need immediate rescue. For this we need a strong deterrent that is reserved for the most offensive fraudsters, one that ensures immediate extradition or deportation of errants and transfers their assets to their immigrant wives.
Courtesy: The Pioneer