As per data available with the government, 275 complaints of fraudulent marriage have been received in 12 Indian Missions abroad from 2011-12 to 2014-15. Most complaints were received in New York.
Complaints of fraudulent marriage by Indians living abroad have become very common. In most cases, the husband is already married, or the wife is abandoned in the foreign country or the husband demands for dowry. As per data available with the Indian Missions abroad, 275 complaints of fraudulent marriage have been received in 12 Indian Missions abroad from 2011-12 to 2014-15. These are only the formal complaints received in Indian Missions. There are hundreds of other cases of exploitation and harassment of Indian women working abroad as noted by a Parliamentary Standing Committee.
275 Complaints in 4 years – Highest in New York
The least number of complaints in these 4 years were received in 2014-15 while the highest were received in 2013-14. All these 275 complaints were received in 12 different missions while 107 other missions didn’t receive a single complaint.
Out of all Indian Missions, New York received the maximum number of such complaints (99) in the last 4 years followed by Ottawa (67). The Indian Missions in Edinburgh, Frankfurt and Perth received only one complaint each in the last 4 years. In terms of countries, 150 of the 275 complaints were received in missions in the USA followed by 67 in Canada. Missions in Britain received the third highest number of complaints (32) followed by 16 in Yemen.
Though New York received the maximum number of complaints during this period, the number of complaints in New York has come down from 44 in 2011-12 to 6 in 2014-15. The number of complaints in London has gone up from 8 in 2011-12 to 10 in 2014-15. The number of complaints in Yemen (Sana’a) & San Francisco have come down while the complaints in other missions remained more or less the same.
What type of complaints is received?
In most of the cases in New York, the husband is already married in the USA and marries again in India. In some cases in New York, the Indian spouse comes to USA and marries another person in USA. In Washington DC, complaints like abandonment by husband, abuse and demand for dowry were received. Most of the complaints received in London were about abandonment by the spouse. Most of the complaints received in San Francisco relate to domestic violence, demand of dowry, Harassment, mental and physical torture etc. Most of the complaints received in Ottawa were about abandonment by the spouse.
What do Indian Missions do in such cases?
The Indian Missions abroad extend legal and financial assistance to the Indian women who are deserted or divorced by their overseas spouses. Various NGOs are empanelled in different countries to provide such assistance.
The Ministry of External Affairs has also launched an awareness-cum-publicity campaign to educate and sensitize prospective brides and their families with regard to problems arising out of marriages with overseas Indians and how due diligence can be exercised before entering into marital alliance with overseas Indians. The Ministry has also brought out a guidance booklet on ”Marriages to Overseas Indians”. This booklet contains information on safeguards available to women deserted by their NRI spouses, legal remedies available, authorities that can be approached for redressal of grievances and non-governmental organizations which can provide assistance.
The Indian Missions also implement a scheme called the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) for legal assistance to Indian women deserted by their overseas husbands. Monetary assistance is extended to Indian Women both for legal and other expenses. In most cases, the Indian Missions abroad provide counseling and also extend help to initiate legal proceedings. They also help in repatriation of the women deserted by their husbands by providing airfare etc.
Most of the Indian missions do not have information on the progress of these cases. Except in one case in Stockholm where the spouse was arrested, the Indian Missions either do not have information or nothing happened in such cases.
Featured Image:Marriages to Overseas Indians