Gurjeet Kaur, 18, is married to Navdeep Tuteja. Navdeep, who is a Canadian citizen visited India last winter in the search of a “homely” Sikh bride. After a brief courtship of a week, Navdeep and Gurjeet were married in a Gurudwara in Ropar, Punjab. It is well over a year since Gurjeet got married, yet there is no news from her husband who went off to Canada after a fortnight long honeymoon in India. Navdeep promised to arrange visa and travel for his new bride after reaching Canada. But the visa never materialized, the phone calls tapered off and now it has been 3 months since Gurjeet spoke to her husband.

Gurjeet is not alone in this sad plight. Every year thousands of NRI grooms flock to India in search of a homely, obedient and docile wife. They find themselves such brides in India’s small towns and villages. After a quick marriage and a brief honeymoon, the grooms go back to their adopted countries, leaving behind wives waiting for travel documents, letters and phone calls. Research shows that 2 out of every 10 NRI weddings result in a long and dismal wait (that never ends) for the new bride.

National Commission for Women (NCW) has decided to take up the cause of such women. The NCW has set up a special cell for dealing with the cases of desertion by “honeymoon husbands”. This cell will serve as a mediator between NRI husbands and their Indian wives.

NCW Chairperson Girija Vyas has said that the cell will receive complaints from deserted wives. To work on the mediation, the cell will first search for the absconding groom with the help of coordinating agencies, NGOs, social organizations etc. The cell will search for such grooms, mediate between the two parties and also provide other support services. The cell will also offer counseling and legal services to deserted wives, who are often pregnant and shunned by their families also.

So if you know any woman who needs counseling or legal support in a case of desertion by NRI groom, please pass on this information. Every married woman has a right to claim maintenance from her husband, whether he is India or not. Please spread awareness about such issues. We should not let irresponsible honeymoon husbands get away with this deceit. Power be to all Indian women!

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Lavanya Mehra


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