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Indian wives abandoned by British husbands

As per one estimate lives of 5,000 women in Punjab have been ruined by such fraudulent marriages, reports Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Mar 11, 2006 19:54 IST
Vijay Dutt
Vijay Dutt

The British have suddenly realised the extent of duplicity of British Indian men here in tricking young women in India into marrying them and then deserting them after coolly collecting dowry.

According to one estimate lives of 5,000 women in Punjab have been ruined by such fraudulent marriages.

But here not many realised the despicable behaviour of men in the community, some time actively abetted by their families. Now an investigation by the Times has brought the matter to the notice of the authorities.

According to it over a 1,000 women have claimed "dreams of life led to heartbreak". It accused British men of lusting after dowries.

A few Asian-origin MPs and community leaders now assure that they plan to urgently focus on the "evil" and not only try help redress the wronged women but also see that the offenders are suitably punished.

If need be the Foreign Office will be approached along with the Home Office to devise ways to prevent unscrupulous men here from such "shameful" exploitation of gullible families in Indian rural areas in particular.

Most women have been abandoned after marriage based on falsehood and demand and collection of dowry. All promise "milk and honey" existence here.

One woman from Punjab had also approached HT here. She alleged that her husband took her back from London to Delhi on the pretext of visiting relatives and attending a wedding. But one day he disappeared, taking her passport as well.

After great difficulty with the help of her family and the British High Commission in New Delhi, she managed to come to London.

Once here she was threatened by her husband's brother who said she would be eliminated unless she withdrew action against her husband who by then had secured an ex-parte divorce and married again.

But the lady did not cower down and was helped by some people in a gurudwara where she was living. Ultimately she got compensated. But such cases are an absolute rarity.

The Times has cited several cases including one of a Rakesh Gupta from Coventry who married in 2002 one young woman, Poorva Sharma, from a village in Punjab. Her father allegedly paid over £ 5,500 in dowry. The reality came to be known when the British High Commission refused entry permit to Sharma saying Gupta had already married another Indian woman.

The problem, a solicitor told HT was that there was no way to get the offending men back for trial in Indian courts. The extradition treaty does not cover such matrimonial crimes. The other reason is that the English courts have no jurisdiction to try complaints from victims in India nor the law is clear about the legal rights of abandoned women on the assets in Britain of men who have abandoned them.

The abandoned women cannot come to Britain so as to move courts here. Their deceitful former husbands are declared proclaimed offenders back in India but as they never return, there is no way to catch them.

First Published: Mar 11, 2006 19:54 IST