Indian-American Parents of ‘Abducted’ Children Seek US Help

Bindu Philips with her twin boys before they were allegedly abducted by her ex-husband
Bindu Philips with her twin boys before they were allegedly abducted by her ex-husband
WASHINGTON:  Around 60 Indian-Americans have asked the US government and the Congress to consider imposing sanctions on India, alleging that they have “not been able to get justice” from the Indian system in reuniting with their kids who have been “abducted” by their spouses there.

In all the cases, the “abduction” is by their spouses, who fled to India after marital dispute and got court orders against them.

All these “abducted” kids are American citizens and in the past few months American lawmakers have joined hands in urging the Obama Administration to consider imposing sanctions on countries like India where the government is not helping them getting back the abducted US kids.

Nearly a dozen of these Indian-American parents from various parts of the US last week held a series of meetings with officials from the State Department, testified before a Congressional committee, met a large number of lawmakers urging to help them get their kids back to the US.

They held a candle light vigil at the White House and also went to the Indian Embassy to submit a memorandum to the Indian Government.

These Indian-American parents are part of the larger group – Bring Our Kids Home – which consists of parents facing the same traumatic problem of “abducted children” in other countries like Pakistan, Russia, Japan  and Greece.

International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA) is a form of child abuse and a violation of US and International law.

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Several nations have signed the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abductions (“Hague Convention”), India is not a signatory to it. As per State Department reports, between 2012-13 India ranked as the number one non-Hague signatory country, said Ravi Parmar, one of the Indian-American parents.

A law was passed by US Congress last year after years of inaction on the part of successive US Administrations to enforce existing US laws and Hague Convention obligations.

“This new law could result in sanctions on those countries that don’t cooperate in returning US children, victims of IPCA,” said Vikram Jagtiani, another parent.

Most of these Indian-American parents have written multiple letters to both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, but have received no response so far.

“Why I am not getting my children back. They need to be me,” Bindu Philip, who testified before a Congressional committee last week, told PTI.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) says 86 per cent of all active cases of abductions to India are open two years or more and 51 per cent of all active India related cases are open five years or more. 21 per cent of all India related cases close without the child returning or child turning 18 years.

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