Ahmedabad., Feb. 02, 2005
TIMES NEWS NETWORK\
It seemed like the perfect match. A blushing Suman
gladly made her way to the mandap to wed the dashing,
Amreeca- settled Vishant. Her friends sighed enviously
at her good catch (read NRI) as did numerous relatives.
'Ladki ke to naseeb khul gaye' - some said.
However, minutes before they were to enter into 'holy
matrimony', the local police interrupted. Not only
was Vishant married but also the father of two young
children. Suman's shocked parents thanked the police
for saving their daughter's 'izzat' in time. For the
smirking few, this is a real life story from Ahmedabad.
And unfortunately, not all girls are so lucky. Many
innocent starryeyed girls have entered into similar
matrimonial alliances only to be abandoned by the
(in most cases, already married) groom, post-marriage.
Take the instance of Punjab where (as a recent report
mentioned) 70 complaints have been received by the
NRI cell of the state police in 2004 alone.West Bengal
and Kerala police too have received such complaints.
Such is the seriousness of the problem that the Indian
government is now trying to set up committees in most
countries where well-known NRIs can find out the credentials
of a potential groom, if a girl's family approaches
them through a central cell.
However, in Gujarat, which has one of the highest
rate of 'NRI marriages' such cases apparently are
few and far between. "As parents, we feel our
daughter will be comfortable if she is married to
an NRI since obviously they earn much more. Also America
is the land of opportunity. We cannot afford to get
her a rich groom here since they want a similar financial
background. In NRI marriages it is not so, as they
are usually looking for simple girls with Indian roots,"
says Roshni Parikh, whose daughter is married and
settled in the US.
Eera Malhotra, whose daughter is also married abroad,
adds her bit: "Jo kismet mein hai wohi hota hai.
We can't do anything if our daughter is destined to
marry an NRI. However, we make sure that we find out
everything possible about the groom from credible
sources. Only then do we go ahead."
It's not just the parents, but the daughters themselves,
who are keen on NRI husbands. "I want to get
married to an NRI since I feel there is not much to
do in the city. There are so many things to do in
America, it is a very happening place to be in. And
earning in dollars always makes life easier,"
asserts Pooja Sharma, currently 'seeing guys for marriage.'
Officially, as senior police officials confirm, there
are few cases a la Punjab, which are registered here.
However, as 'Suman's example' shows, there is no place
for complacency. Small wonder then that the Punjab
Police is now planning to slap a rape charge against
all such 'fake grooms' under Section 376 of the IPC.