Migration to foreign countries has always wooed Punjabis and so has getting their daughter married to NRIs. Punjab has been in news for the NRI marriages (non-resident Indian). Pitiable stories of deserted young girls by their NRI grooms are increasing. In a way, Punjab is also emerging as a transit state for the trafficking or forced migration of young women.

Indian women are facing another kind of mental and physical trauma especially in the states of Punjab, Gujarat and Haryana where incidences of fraudulent NRI marriages is on the rise.

However, to tackle this grave issue, the new Punjab Government of Prakash Singh Badal has come forward with some stern suggestions.

Stunning cases of NRI marriages have come to the fore in recent past. The problem of NRI boys marrying girls and then running away is becoming more and more alarming. In many cases, many of these NRIs are already married and have children or there is a big gap in age.

A typical format or planning is followed by the NRIs to give a good impression of their worthiness and well being. Few visits to India on a short term basis to allure and exploit young girls and some win the hearts of the girl by their hefty pockets and bank balances. Such grooms not only sexually exploit the girls but also demand handsome dowry from the bride’s family.

In most of the cases, after the marriage has been solemnized the NRI husband proceeds back to his adopted country, living behind his newly-wed wife on the pretext that he would call her there very soon after making the necessary arrangements. However, after waiting for years together, the girl finds that
her ‘NRI husband’ has not only exploited her sexually, but also abandoned her for the whole life.

Taking few glimpses of movies like ‘Provoked’ where the groom takes the girl abroad, her life is made miserable by not just by abusing her physically and mentally but also by restricting her to the boundaries of that country by taking away passport and other papers from her.

As a result, the girls sometimes not just end their lives but also murder their husbands.

The National Commission for Women (NCW) receives several complaints from desperate women abroad duped or duped by their NRI husbands. There are thousands of others languishing in their village home waiting for the call from America or Canada that never comes.

According to NGOs working in the Doaba region of Punjab, over 20,000 girls have not seen their husbands after honeymoon. “80 per cent of the marriages to NRI men in Punjab are doomed, as the husbands never return to take their brides,” says Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, the lone crusader for the helpless NRI wives, putting forth the data till 2008.

However, the Punjab government seems to have wakened up from its long deep slumber. The Chief Minister announced that an officer of the rank of an Additional Director General of police will probe all cases pertaining to illegal immigration and sham marriages of non-resident Indians.

Badal said such cases of girls from Punjab being duped by NRIs for marriage and youth being conned by travel agents would be investigated with top priority and decided within a time frame. He also promised to check the luring advertisements by the travel agents in the media so that the youth are not duped in the name of better pastures abroad or lucrative jobs, study or settlement offers in other countries. The cell would also initiate criminal proceeding against the erring travel agents.

In addition to this, the state government would have a ministry of non-resident Indian (NRI) affairs and fast track courts would be set up to deal with cases of marriage frauds committed by NRIs.

Police in one of such fake NRI marriage had found success by stopping the marriage.

A family of NRIs from Britain and the US, including a groom who rode an elephant for his wedding, his mother and his sisters, have landed in prison just hours after the ceremony.

At least nine members of the NRI family have already been arrested by the Punjab Police and efforts are being made to nab others as well, police officials maintained. All of them are British and American passport holders.

The NRI family, which comes from London's Southall area and Leicester city in Britain, and Connick and Woodland towns in California, US, have been accused of attacking the owner of a popular marriage hall, Green Fields, in this town Saturday evening.

The groom Gurpreet Singh, 27, his mother Sukhwinder Kaur, both from Southall, and two sisters, Reema Bains and Seema Sanghera, both from California, have been lodged in the Hoshiarpur jail after a local court sent them to judicial remand.

The groom's father, Gurdev Singh, has also been booked but has not yet been arrested.

The police have confiscated the passports of those NRIs named in the case registered here. The family has been charged with attempt to murder, criminal trespass, rioting, assault and robbery under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and various sections of the Arms Act as the marriage hall owner accused them of firing weapons.

NRI Dumped Indian " Wives"- Indian Govt. Mulls Strict Laws

Deeply concerned about the plight of Indian girls who have been dumped by their NRI husbands and to provide relief to hapless Indian brides suffering helplessly in foreign lands, Govt. of India is coming out with various measures in this regard :-

The Law Commission headed by Justice AR Lakshmanan, in its 219th report has proposed:-

1) Compulsory registration of marriage where one of the spouses is a NRI.

2) Submission of these Marriage documents to the relevant Embassy in India of the country where NRI resides.

3) Creation of Fast Track courts in India to try NRI matrimonial / succession cases.

4) Uniform law regarding the adoption of Indian children by NRIs and simplification of inter country child adoption procedures.

5) Amendment of the Marriage Laws to provide for maintenance , alimony etc, for Indian brides.