Gurdaspur, Ludhiana, and Mohali in the Indian state of Punjab,  17 June 2023 (TDI): A recent article by The New York Times sheds light on a distressing pattern of husbands abandoning their wives after marriage in the Indian state of Punjab.

Promised a better life, numerous women enter into matrimony with men employed abroad, aspiring to obtain a visa and join their partners.

While some marriages prove genuine, with husbands committed to securing visas for their wives, many others involve deception, leaving families defrauded of dowries, honeymoon expenses, and visa payments.

In numerous cases, husbands depart for work abroad shortly after the wedding, leaving their spouses behind with in-laws, often subjected to perpetual servitude. These abandoned wives face constant surveillance, enduring severe psychological and physical abuse, including rape.

In their pursuit of justice, women have resorted to filing petitions with India’s Supreme Court and reporting their husbands to authorities in an attempt to have their passports revoked. However, cultural and financial barriers often prevent many women from filing complaints or seeking legal recourse.

The New York Times publication has unveiled a deeply troubling phenomenon that highlights the plight faced by abandoned wives in Punjab, India. These women, enticed by the prospects of a brighter future, have become victims of deceit, manipulation, and emotional trauma. The gravity of this issue cannot be understated, as it not only undermines the sanctity of marriage but also perpetuates a cycle of abuse, injustice, and inequality.

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The accounts shared by these courageous women expose the pervasive culture of abandonment and mistreatment that exists within certain communities. The women find themselves trapped in a web of surveillance, deprived of agency, and subjected to various forms of abuse. It is imperative that their voices are heard, their experiences acknowledged, and immediate action taken to protect their rights and well-being.

We call upon authorities in Punjab, as well as the Indian government, to address this pressing issue with urgency and sensitivity. It is crucial to implement robust legal frameworks that safeguard the rights of married women, deter perpetrators from engaging in such deceptive practices, and provide comprehensive support systems for those affected.

Efforts should be directed toward creating awareness, challenging societal norms, and fostering an environment that promotes equality and respect within marital relationships.

The international community is urged to take note of this distressing situation and support organizations working to empower and protect abandoned wives in Punjab and beyond.

By joining hands, we can work towards creating a world where no woman lives in fear, where marriages are built on trust and mutual respect, and where every individual has the opportunity to thrive.