Sikh News India Steps In To Help Brides !

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Jan 7, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada

India steps in to help brides
Special units to weed out marriage fraud

Mike RobertsCanWest News Service
Sunday, March 12, 2006

India has announced plans to set up an international network to crack down on fake marriages, and has vowed to aid harassed and abandoned brides at home and abroad.

Sending its strongest message to date on the issue of marital fraud involving non-resident Indians, India proposes to create "special cells" in Canada and other "locations that have a significant Indian population," said Vayalar Ravi, minister for overseas Indian affairs.

Wherever required, Ravi said, "the effort would be to get the guilty extradited to India."

This is the third initiative from India in response to Abandoned Brides, a Calgary Herald/Vancouver Province series on the tragic trend of brides in India being abandoned by Canadian men. The series ran over five days in October, and sparked an international outcry.

The units will help parents verify eligibility of prospective grooms, and ensure abandoned brides receive legal and medical aid in India or abroad.

"I would advise state governments to establish independent gender cells to deal with issues related to marriages to overseas Indians and to extend the required assistance. These cells can then act in a co-ordinated manner with the overseas centres," Ravi said.

Vancouver's Indian consul general, Ashok Kumar, welcomed the initiative.
"We are seeking details from Delhi," he said.

India's proposal preceded the establishment last week of the Canadian Marriage Fraud Victims Force Society, a B.C. Lower Mainland immigrant services and lobby group.
At the Grand Taj banquet hall in Surrey, B.C., earlier this month, more than 300 concerned citizens voiced their anger over the growing issue of marital fraud in the Indo-Canadian community.

"There's not only boys who leave girls behind, there are girls who leave boys behind and people who come here and disappear from the airport, or vanish after one week, three weeks," organizer Palwinder Gill said.
Gill, whose Indian wife came to Canada last June and subsequently fled, has formed a non-profit society to assist other victims of marital fraud. The Canadian Marriage Fraud Victims Force Society will petition Ottawa for a change to Canada's immigration law placing a "three-year condition" on spousal sponsorship.
"They would get landed status from the very beginning, but if they are going out of that relationship within three years, their landed status would be cancelled," said Gill. "There would be exceptions, if there is abuse or crime, but there must be solid evidence."

Last October, Sikh holy leaders in Amritsar urged Sikhs to stop offering dowries for their daughters in a bid to prevent dishonest non-resident Indians from seeking to defraud their Indian brides.

In January, New Delhi's Union Ministry for NRI Affairs launched an educational campaign listing precautions women should take when considering marriage proposals from abroad, as well as outlining their rights under Indian law.

© The Calgary Herald 2006​

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