SATWANT KAUR HAD HIGH HOPES FOR HER FUTURE ON THE DAY SHE GOT MARRIED.
She sincerely believed that she had found both hope and happiness.
She had found herself a husband who worked and had a career in Italy.
He had returned to India to find himself a bride.
Satwant was looking forward to a new and exciting life in Italy after leaving her home in Punjab, northern India.
Her hopes and happiness were soon dashed though.
Less than a week after her wedding she realised that her husband, Sarwan Singh, was never going to take her to Italy with him.
The marriage was purely a scam.
DOWRIE OR DEATH
With the cost of living and incomes varying between countries, Indian men who work abroad are quite a catch as husbands because their incomes are relatively high when compared to typical salaries in their native country.
For this reason, their families typically demand extremely large dowrys, despite the fact that such a practice is banned in India.
Satwant Kaur says that her family paid $15,000 to Sarwan Singh and his family purely for the wedding festivities.
Such a sum for an Indian family is a huge amount of money.
Within days, Sarwan’s parents listed more demands.
They required a house, a television and another $15,000.
They threatened to murder Satwant if her family did not furnish them with all of their desires.
Kaur, who is now 30, fled back to her family in India, along with her 3 year old daughter who was conceived during a brief visit from Sarwan.
Due to Indian culture, Satwan and her daughter now live with the stigma of having been abandoned.
Satwan is not the only Indian woman to find herself in this position.
It is believed that up to 15,000 women, purely in the northern state of Punjab, are victims of this ever more common scam which sees Indian men from overseas arranging marriages back home, expressly for the purpose of extorting wealth from their brides’ families.
This problem is more acute in Punjab, due to the fact that they have a large proportion of residents who work abroad.
It is estimated that some 6,000 children have been sired by non resident Indian Punjabis.
In many cases the Punjabi girls’ parents have then found themselves having to pay dowrys that typically fall into the range of $30,000 – $40,000.
Many non resident Punjabi men are returning home to take wives, not because they wish to marry someone from their province, but because they desire the money they will receive from the woman’s parents.
Often new brides will be quite literally left standing at the altar, albeit after the wedding ceremony has taken place.
The Indian men behind these scam marriages are often confident that they will not be caught as little effort is put into tracking them down and prosecuting them.
Satwant Kaur, however, is hoping to have Sarwan Singh extradited from Italy so that he can face charges of fraud.
(Thanks to Aruna for the spelling corrections!)