• In within a week of marriage in 2002, Toronto-based electronics engineer Raghu Modi was told by his wife (a New Delhi resident) that she had married him for Visa and had no intention of terminating relationship with her paramour.
• After Modi refused to process the immigration formalities for his wife, she filed a “dowry” case against him and demanded Rs 26 lakh to “settle” the case. Unable to bear the harassment, Modi paid Rs 7 lakh to settle the case. Within a month, his wife married her paramour.
• New York-based Jaspreet’s wife — a registered medical practitioner — filed a “dowry” case against her husband and his entire family shortly after their marriage in 1998. Later, her family came up with a compensation demand of Rs one crore. Unable to bear the stress, Jaspreet’s father passed away in India, but neither Jaspreet nor his brothers were able to perform the last rites – as Interpol Red Corner Notices were pending against them. Jaspreet has been engaged in a labyrinthine process of litigation in Indian courts for the last eight years. Meanwhile, his wife has remarried in the US.
• Riyadh-based Iliyas Ahmed has a dowry case pending for his refusal to concede his wife Husna’s demand for bearing the entire expenses of her family. Husna’s family members in Bangalore have attacked his family home on several occasions and Illiyas has been unable to visit India.
• Shortly after Mandeep arrived back in Canada after his marriage, his wife Jasvinder deserted him after admitting that she had married him only for a visa. In accordance with the Canadian immigration laws, he provides financial support to his “vanished wife.”
These are samples of case studies collected with aims of presenting the converse side of the story of NRI marriages by ‘Rakshak’— an international organisation dedicated to elder abuse. ‘Rakshak’ works in close conjunction with 498a.org — leading international forum engaged in researching the impact of misuse of gender biased laws such as Section 498 A of the IPC.
The phenomenon of abandoned brides is one that has received huge media attention, but a new trend of “vanishing brides and abandoned grooms” has somehow escaped attention, said Dr Anupama Singh of ‘Rakshak.’ <b1>
At a teleconferencing session on Thursday, several NRI men recounted stories of having been dumped by unscrupulous wives — who take advantage of gender-biased laws by filing false cases of domestic violence and dowry abuse to harass and extort money.
Statistics, Dr Singh said, speak for themselves: Against the number of 152 cases registered of “abandoned wives”, the number of cases of “abandoned grooms” is around 700. Also, the courts have declared 80 per cent men charged under Section 498-A innocent, she pointed out. Section 498-A of the IPC is a criminal law in which the wife and her family can charge any or all of the husband’s family for physical and mental cruelty.