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Police interrupt NRI's marriage ceremony

Ahmedabad., Feb. 02, 2005

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.

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