Deteriorating law and order situation in India, particularly in Punjab, emerged as one of the main concerns in Punjabi NRIs' mind during the Punjabi Pravasi Sammelan-2013 that started here on Friday.
Speaking to HT, Pritam Grewal, mayor of Hounslow in London, said serious measures needed to be taken to improve law and order. "News about rape cases in the country, like the recent one in Delhi, and other crimes is embarrassing for us too."
Grewal said he was also disturbed at how the activities of illegal immigration agents were going unchecked. "Job situation there (abroad) is very bad but still people are coming there and suffering because of travel agents. They are sleeping under bridges in many cases but we cannot do anything," he added. "We cannot even send them back as we don't know who they are because they don't have any identity proof."
When asked about the reason behind NRIs' properties being grabbed by their near and dear ones back in Punjab, Malaysian MP Daljit Dhariwal said, "When Punjabis went abroad for better opportunities, they never thought that property prices would go up manifold, and hence left the property at the hands of their relatives who dupe them." He said the Malaysian government was also trying to establish links with the Indian government to sort out various problems of Punjabi NRIs.
Ajit Singh Atwal, a magistrate in the UK who traces his roots to Nawanshahr district, added, "Punjabi NRIs fear being implicated in false cases back home and their properties being grabbed. In fact, our later generations are afraid of coming back to Punjab."
He also stated that NRIs are scared of making investments in Punjab "just because of poor law and order". "If a local resident cannot live here then what about others?"
Asked about the legal system here in India, Atwal said, "When people know about cases moving at slow pace here, they feel disgusted. In the UK, we get results very soon."
Delegates at the meet also raised the issue of NRIs getting married on their visits to Punjab and later dumping the wives. They said checking the practice would reduce the number of cases in courts.