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Canada Rumours Of Sham Marriage Enrage Punjabi Community After Suicide

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Rumours of sham marriage enrage Punjabi community after suicide

October 27, 2011

Raveena Aulakh - Toronto Star


Gurdip Saroa, left, jumped into the Fraser River
days after his wife Harmanjit Dhami, emigrated from India.

A new bride, a drowned husband and some sordid allegations — the Indo-Canadian community in Toronto and Vancouver is once again confronting the maelstrom of fraudulent marriages.

“I have never seen so much anger before,” said Rajinder Saini, host of Parvasi Radio, a daily Punjabi talk show in Toronto.

“Maybe because a man is dead.”

At the heart of this unfolding drama, which has had the Punjabi airwaves chattering non-stop for the past week, is a 19-year-old woman.

Harmanjit Dhami, petite and doe-eyed, married Gurdip Saroa, a 22-year-old trucker from Surrey, B.C., in India in February. It was an arranged marriage, attended by more than 1,000 people. The couple lived there for two months and, by all accounts, were happy.

Saroa returned to Surrey and filed sponsorship papers. Dhami landed in Vancouver on Oct. 12.

Within a week, he would be dead.

“This is all bad, so bad,” a teary Rajwinder Brahmvir, Saroa’s sister, said in an interview from Surrey.

She said Dhami told her a day after arriving in Canada that she had married Saroa to come here and that she had no intention of living with him.

For the next four days, there were continuous fights in the house.

At about 1 p.m. on Oct. 17, the couple went out to buy tickets for a trip to Brampton where Dhami’s uncle lives. An hour later, Brahmvir says, she got a call from her brother. “He was sobbing and said Harman had run away from the car,” she said. “He said sorry and hung up.”

Saroa was seen jumping into the Fraser River from the Pattullo Bridge. His body has not been found.

At her uncle’s home in Brampton, Dhami refuted all allegations.

She said her husband sexually assaulted her. “My first night at his home and he hit me,” she said, choking back tears. It continued for the next three days, she added.

Recalling the events of Oct. 17, she said Saroa took her to an isolated place and tried to strangle her with a phone charger cord in the car.

“Look at this,” she said, showing strangulation marks on her neck. “I managed to jump out and I ran.”

A Good Samaritan called 911 and police were soon at the scene.

An RCMP spokesperson said officers are investigating a missing person case and an assault case. No charges have been laid.

So, did Dhami marry Saroa to come to Canada? And why did he jump into the river? Was he lovelorn or was it shame that she would tell people he was assaulting her?

The couple’s story is a typical he-said, she-said conflict. But in a community rocked by fraudulent marriages, where people wed to immigrate and then abandon their spouses, the incident has sparked universal rage.

Dhami has been called names. There are demands to deport her. Some have said her family should be ostracized. But no one has asked her what happened in Surrey in those four days and no one, except her uncle, has defended her.

Saini acknowledges that.

“It’s a big issue in the community,” the radio host said. “If people think there’s even a hint of fraud, they want something done.”

Fair enough, said Deepa Mattoo, who works for the South Asian Legal Clinic in Toronto. “But it shouldn’t be a media trial like this,” she said. “It stigmatizes women.”

Mattoo, like many other social workers, worries that once new legislation to curb marriage fraud kicks in, women may be held ransom to their immigration status.

In 2009, nearly 45,000 people immigrated to Canada as spouses. Citizenship and Immigration Canada says 1,000 fraudulent marriages are reported annually.

Ottawa is proposing legislation to prevent a person who has been sponsored to come to Canada as a spouse from sponsoring a new partner for five years.

Another proposal is for a period of conditional permanent residence requiring a recently sponsored spouse to stay in a “bona fide” relationship with their sponsor after becoming a permanent resident. The period could be two years or more.

Mattoo said the legislation will be a death sentence for abused women. “They’ll be stuck in that abusive relationship.”

Meanwhile, Dhami is weighing her options.

“I want to stay in Canada and study,” she said. “I can do it.”

source: http://www.thestar.com/news/article...e-enrage-punjabi-community-after-suicide?bn=1


ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
Dec 21, 2010
Soul Jyot ji thanks for the post.

This situation has become epidemic and is a real black mark on our community. Marriages, arrangements, gifts/dowries are being unashamedly arranged. There are very few families that have not heard of such a fraud in near or more distant relatives.

I believe people just don't realize some of the seriousness of what they are doing? Legally you may be in Canada for ten years, a Canadian Citizen you can still be deported if basis of your entry and stay is determined and established to be fraudulent. Just because the system is back logged should not be taken as comfort and be a basis of carrying out idiotic actions. Many will get wake up calls over the coming years.

So sad but I assume people will gamble for a better life or chances for having such a future.

Sat Sri Akal.



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