NRI marriages: Abandoned husbands and child abduction by NRI bride

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New Delhi, Jan 4 (UNI) Surabh Modi, an IIT graduate, settled in the US, married his wife in December 2003. In January 2007, his wife fooled him and brought their infant son to India and filed a false 498A (dowry harassment) case.

In another case, Ram, a well known doctor in the US, obtained a divorce from his wife on grounds of cruelty, after spending 10,00,000 US dollars in litigation. His ex-wife then abducted their children to India and filed a false dowry complaint.

These real-life stories were narrated by the NRI victims of false 498A cases at a press conference organised by 498a.org, an organisation working for the victims of 498A IPC, yesterday.

The press conference also exposed the immigration fraud in which NRI grooms are callously used to acquire a visa to a foreign country.

According to a report by Rakshak, an organisation working in this area, NRI men are duped into such marriages by the girl and her family for the purpose of geting a green card or coming to the US for higher education. NRI marriages lead to a reverse phenomenon of abandoned Indian grooms and child abduction by NRI brides.

The wife then jumps the jurisdiction from the US, abducts the children (US citizens) to India and files a false 498A case, converting a child custody case into a criminal case.

The result is that the left-behind parents lose contact with their children, a severe violation of UN convention of Rights of the child. In many cases such children are subjected to severe mental abuse and start exhibiting symptoms of Parental Alienation Syndrome.

The much-publicised Smalin Jenita/Christy Danius case was also cited as an authority, in which a little over a year after her marriage with an IT professional in the US, 25-year-old Jenita returned to Chennai in an air ambulance, a near-total wreck.

However, husband Christy has said his wife was hurt in a car accident and he is being falsely implicated in dowry harassment case.

''Civil cases are being turned into criminal cases and the husbands cannot enter India to defend themselves out of fear of being arrested,'' said Ms Anupama, secretary, 498a.org.

''I understand that there is a huge misuse of the dowry harrasment laws but I do not want women organisations to sit on a dharna outside my house,'' is what Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), Valayar Ravi is reported to have said when some of the NRI victims of 498A IPC met him at Los Angeles some time back.

The case of these NRI men are more tricky with India not being a signatory to the Hague Convention and so it does not recognise the decision of any foreign court.

Interestingly, the US department of Justice in its report had held India to be a safe haven for international child abduction.

It further adds that courts outside India should be extremely wary about allowing parents to take children for temporary visits to India over the objections of the other parent since there is a great likelihood that parents who wrongfully retain children in India will get away with their wrongful conduct scot-free in India.

In view of the upcoming Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Rakshak appealed to the government to make parental child abduction a crime, safeguard children's rights and sign the Hague convention.

It also demanded that rights of custody and of access under the law of NRI's country are respected in India.

UNI AKJ RP DS1136

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