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The woman's story is one of many other abandoned brides in India who are left behind by their non-resident Indian husbands. Now in Australia to look out for her husband, she is determined to spread the word about her ordeal to caution other women. 

By
MP Singh
Published on
Wednesday, March 27, 2019 - 11:52
File size
26.8 MB
Duration
14 min 38 sec

Jay* Kaur was engaged in February 2012 to an Australia-based Punjabi man. She said she felt like the luckiest person on the earth.

Her fiance was in Australia on a temporary visa at the time and asked her to pass an English language IELTS test. 

Jay, a postgraduate in Physics passed the test with 6 bands.

Their engagement like most of the Indian ceremonies was a lavish and her father gifted diamond rings and other costly items to her fiance's parents. She says her parents gave a "lot of dowry" at the time of her marriage. 

"My husband eventually got his PR in May 2013 and visited India to get married in Oct 2013. It was a huge wedding with over 450 guests from my husband’s side. As per customs, my dad gave me a lot of dowry,"

She said her husband returned to Australian in December 2013 with a promise to get her to Australia as soon as possible.

"I was pregnant at that time. But after getting there my husband told me that he has some driving license issues and it would be better if my dad could submit my visa application. I believed him and my dad spent another Rs 2.5 lakh ($5,000) to prepare my case," she said.

She claims everything changed when her daughter was born in 2014.

"I was forced to go to my parents home before the delivery, citing customs. Whenever I requested to go back to my in-laws' house, I was told to stay put. I was often taunted at that my daughter meant another liability to them," Jay said.

"Then all of a sudden without informing me my husband came to India and came to see me and our new-born baby girl. I begged him to take me to Australia but he returned without doing anything."

It's considered a taboo for married women in India to stay at their parent's home other than when visiting for short durations. Jay said her husband's parents didn't allow her to return to their home. 

"When I asked them to let me return to their home, they declined saying what if I take poison at their house and they will be in trouble," she said.

In September 2015, Jay's husband withdrew his support for her visa application. Though initially, he promised to re-apply for her and their daughter's visa, but he never did that. He also blocked Jay's attempts to contact him. 

Now she is one of tens of thousands of abandoned brides in India - women whose husbands while living overseas have ceased contact with them without officially separating or getting a divorce. A petition filed in India's Supreme Court last year said there were nearly 40,000 abandoned brides in India.  

While many of these women have been persistently fighting for justice and the Indian government has also recently taken some strong measures, such as cancelling passports of erring husbands, Jay has finally come to Australia to find her husband and hold him to account.  

Currently staying with a non-profit working for women, she says she wants answers from her husband. 

"I want to ask him why he did this to me and his own daughter," Jay says. 

"I got a call from him and he asked what I was doing in Australia before he apologised to me. He has promised that he will start the process of getting our daughter to Australia."

"But he also said 'it's too late'. I wonder what he means by that". 

*Not her real name. The voice has been altered to protect her identity.

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. You can also call MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978 and Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. In an emergency, call 000.

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