Pricking the ‘NRI groom’ phenomenon


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New Delhi : An NRI man comes to India, chooses a bride who brings along an enormous dowry, promises to take her back as soon as he manages to sponsor her visa – and vanishes, never to return.

Then there are others who take their young brides with them and then leave them in a lurch in a foreign country, without any finances.

It's a common story. But one from which very few young women with dreams of a cushy life abroad and parents who get tempted by the boy's quoted job and salary are willing to learn a lesson.

In the light of the rising number of such cases, the Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi and the Minister of Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury met Friday to discuss the issue and come up with some concrete ways to protect innocent girls.

"NRI marriages are becoming a phenomenon. In most cases the girl and her family, despite being well educated, fall into the trap of men who make big promises but in the end leave the girl in a lurch. We will do our best to stop this trend," said Chowdhury.

In a large number of cases, the young bride is left to fend for herself. But because the marriage takes place in India and the divorce filed abroad, the man goes scot-free while the hapless girl remains tied to a limping marriage.

The matter is worse if the man is not an Indian citizen because most countries are unwilling to take action against their own citizens.

Andhra Pradesh and Punjab are the two states reporting the most number of cases of girls being cheated by NRIs.

Another issue discussed at the meeting was the inhuman treatment meted out to maidservants who are taken abroad.

"They might be doing household chores but that doesn't mean they don't have the right to a dignified life. We receive hundreds of complaints of maids being treated harshly by employers, especially from the Gulf countries," said Chowdhury.

In the backdrop of both these problems, the two ministers felt that there was need to form a sub-committee to discuss them and come out with possible solutions within a month.

"We have decided on a sub-committee, which will include members from the ministry of women and child development, ministry of overseas Indian affairs, ministry of law and justice, ministry of home affairs and ministry of external affairs besides two state ministers, one from Punjab and one from Andhra Pradesh," said Ravi.

"Headed by my secretary Nirmal Singh the committee will have seven members and they will come up with something concrete in a month," he added.

The ministers also said that laws, if needed, would be amended so that maidservants and innocent girls are protected. Also, the role of state governments would be stressed upon.