After a year
of his marriage in 2003, Jatinder who married Seema (names changed)
returned to India from California at his wife’s nagging, unaware
that he was landing into deep trouble. At his in-laws’ house,
he was drugged, threatened at gunpoint, imprisoned illegally
for weeks, forced to pay $60,000 and forced to apply for visas
for the rest of Seema’s family, according to his complaint with
US immigration authorities. After his family in the US informed
FBI in New Delhi and Delhi Police, he was freed.
Indian bride cheated and harassed New York’s renowned Ambati
family has set a new, low standard for rotten NRI marriages.
Well known for their social and community service with donations
in thousands of dollars, the Ambati family was harassed by
their daughter-in-law, Archana, just four months after her
marriage in 1995. Archana accused her husband, Dr. Jayakrishna
Ambati, and his family of demanding Rs.50,000 ($1,200) in
dowry and mental and physical abuse, right on the day they
were due to be honoured with a major award during a visit
to Andhra Pradesh.
of the celebration, they were taken into custody under section
498 A of the Indian Penal Code. Dragging for four years, the
case reached the Supreme Court. In 1996, the court dismissed
all charges, but Archana appealed. During the trial, the Ambatis
produced an audiotape in which Archana’s father, Nanda, demanded
US $500,000 to drop all the charges.
the prosecution opposed this evidence, the court in February
1999 admitted this evidence. Archana then wrote to the ministers
for Home Affairs and Law & Parliamentary Affairs that
she was “unconditionally withdrawing” all charges against
the Ambati family.
paid a high price as they were separated for three years,
and eminent physician Dr. B. Ambati, Jayakrishna Ambati’s
brother, lost two years of his professional career in addition
to financial losses and mental trauma.
are just two of thousands of cases of NRI grooms who are cheated,
defrauded, hounded and extorted by Indian brides who manipulate
the highly biased dowry laws of India. Conniving Indian brides
who make false complaints under IPC 498A, torture not just
the grooms but also their parents, siblings and the extended
Indian bride, has undergone a sinister makeover. The educated
girl gets married to an unsuspecting NRI groom for reasons
other than holy matrimony. The ‘underground’ reasons for marriage
include: supporting her family in India by transferring large
sums of money from her husband’s earnings; nagging her husband
for obtaining a Green Card or immigration to the rich countries
for her parents or siblings, filing a divorce in the new country
as soon as possible to settle down on her own or with her
boyfriend, claiming huge sums of money by filing false dowry
harassment charges, among others.
a non-bailable dowry case under IPC 498A is easier than ordering
a meal. But while a restaurant can refuse service, the police
normally arrest the groom and the in-laws. While the Indian
media is flooded with reports of dowry-related bride torture,
it hardly mentions the horrific cases of suffering husbands
at the hands of cunning wives.
matters reached a critical stage, a police unit for the grievances
of the husbands was formed, but it is far short of the response
required. Thus many vocal groups of so-called 498A Victims
have been formed over the Internet with websites, blogs and
web groups to highlight their horror stories, lists of victims
and help and advice for men in this dire situation.
are at a further disadvantage in this scenario. A travel warning
on “Dowry/Visa Demands” by the US Department of State at http://travel.state.gov
warns: “A number of U.S.-citizen men who have come to India
to marry Indian nationals have been arrested and charged with
crimes related to dowry extraction. Many of the charges stem
from the U.S. citizen’s inability to provide an immigrant
visa for his prospective spouse to travel immediately to the
sometimes order the U.S. citizen to pay large sums of money
to his spouse in exchange for the dismissal of charges. The
courts normally confiscate the American’s passport, and he
must remain in India until the case has been settled.” Sometimes,
the parents are also kept in jail. And the cases drag on,
and on in courts. The complicated Indian administrative machinery
is greased by bribes and NRIs are not adept at this game.
of Overseas Indians booklet warning about NRI husbands defrauding
their newly-wedded wives queered the pitch against NRIs, resulting
in a vitriolic response as it paints all NRIs in a very negative
manner. An article about this problem in this column had a
similar reaction from scores of NRIs and the 498A victims.
dreams can turn into nightmares - both for wives and husbands.