National Commission for Women (NCW) organized a one-day national seminar on ‘NRI Marriage Related Issues in Punjab’ on 30 July at the auditorium of Lovely Professional University. The objective of the seminar was to review sensitive, crucial concerns pertaining to NRI marriages in Punjab and to forward solutions. Chairperson NCW Rekha Sharma presided over the seminar; whereas, Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) Chairperson Gobind Singh Longowal chaired it. Chairperson, Punjab State Commission for NRI, Justice (Retd) Rajesh Kumar Garg forwarded important legal tips to the victims. Two important sessions on ‘Legal Complexities Involved in NRI Marriages and Possible Solutions’ and ‘Socio-Cultural Context of NRI Marriages in Punjab’ witnessed massive participation from diverse sections of the society including police officials, complainants and their parents, friends, relatives, and students.
Taking reference of a matrimonial advertisement made for a girl to get married to an NRI only, NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma holds: “Society as a whole needs to change the mindset that marriage is the only aspiration of a girl. Like boys, girls should also be guided to be financially independent before getting married. Settlement in foreign countries is not easy and wonderful.” She suggested Punjabi girls and their families check the details about the prospective groom before getting married; and, to avoid illegal migration through the course of marriages.”
SGPC Chairperson Shri Longowal assured to have connections with like-minded religious and social bodies in foreign countries so that such issues may be easily tackled down. He illustrated that, for this, a special wing of SGPC will also be formed out. He also invoked all, especially Punjabis, to provide proper education to their children before getting them married or sending them abroad. He alerted that many of the persons residing in foreign lands have made it a ‘business’ and all should be cautious about this.
LPU Pro-Chancellor Mrs Rasmi Mittal also shared the inaugural session of the seminar, which was held at Shanti Devi Mittal Auditorium of the University. LPU Executive Dean Dr Lovi Raj Gupta inspired LPU Computer Sciences and Applications students to come forward with artificial intelligence based apps so that the fraudulent cases may be automatically solved out in the very initial stages. The NRI Affairs Cell of the Punjab Police also issued dos and don’ts for persons seeking to marry NRIs or foreign nationals. During the seminar, several cases and challenges including women subjected to domestic violence or dowry harassment in the foreign country; women abandoned in India after their marriage; women abandoned in the foreign country where they have no financial, social or legal support; provision of legal and financial support to deserted wives in foreign countries; service of judicial processes issued by Indian courts to the wrongdoers or their families in the foreign country, and extradition of culprits and more were also discussed in detail.
During sessions held at Baldev Raj Mittal Auditorium, a vivid presentation was made on the roles and functions of NRI Cell of the NCW. NRI Brides also made a presentation. Moderator for this session was Senior Coordinator of NCW Kanchan Khattar. Ex-Chairperson Punjab State Commission for Women & Member SGPC Paramjeet Kaur Landran informed about various supportive actions being taken for the help of the victims, even by SGPC and Ministry of International Affairs. ADGP (NRI Wing) Punjab Police Ishwar Singh spoke about ‘Role of Police NRI Wing to deal with NRI marriages’; and, Secretary, District Legal Service Authority Japinder Singh guided participants about possible legal services. Similarly, Dr Shewli Kumar from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS, Mumbai); HOD Dr Monica Munjial from Centre for Social Work, Punjab University (Chandigarh); Dr Pam Rajput, Dr Sunil Kumar from LPU School of Law and Dr Manu Sharma from Department of History suggested important alerts in the Session- 2 held for Sociocultural Context of NRI Marriages in Punjab.