Posted by Neera Sabharwal on October 30, 2013

In their battle for justice, victims of fraudulent marriages in Punjab are no longer alone! Indian-origin former Canadian parliamentarian Ruby Dhalla is championing their cause and will launch a campaign to help and support women who have been exploited by non-residential Indians (NRI).

Several Punjabi women tie the knot with the hope of relocating and enjoying a luxurious life overseas. However, the dreams of many newly-wed dulhans are shattered when they are abandoned and left to languish behind by their prospective grooms.

The initiative, “Dreams For You” gearing up for an official roll out in Punjab next month is aimed at fostering partnerships and interactions with the victims, the Punjab government, local grassroots community members, business leaders, NGOs and elected members.

The focal point of the campaign will be to provide vocational training, educational and legal aid to abandoned brides of fraud marriages.

"There is a growing trend among Indian women getting married to NRI men. Many of them become victims of fraud marriages and Punjab has a sizeable number of such women," said Dhalla.

Though the phenomenon of fraudulent marriages has become rampant in Punjab, the evil has not been effectively dealt with by the government given that the National Commission for Women (NCW) has tackled of only 30 of the 813 complaints so far.

The plight of these holiday wives are pitiable who NRI husbands return each year to “live as man and wife” and then go abroad after making false promises.

“The sad part is that there is no database about the number of such women in the country. Many women have not even heard from their husbands for years and are raising their children alone,” said Dhalla.

The campaign will create awareness in order to prevent more women falling prey to fraud marriages. It will educate people about the things they should scrutinize while marrying off their daughters to NRIs.

She explained, “People must get all information about the groom, like his passport number, copy of the passport, date of birth and so on, as these are needed while filing an FIR in a case of fraud marriage. Sometime grooms only hand over copy of visa which does not have passport number or even date of birth.”

The campaign will stretch to other states, later. A fashion line comprising of evening gowns, dresses, kurtas and kaftans is underway and Dhalla said a part of the earnings will go to the campaign against fraud marriages.