Behind closed doors: The domestic abuse that NRI women like Mandeep Kaur silently endure

A protest march seeking justice for Mandeep Kaur and other victims of domestic abuse.

NEW YORK (TIP): “I tried to make everything right but nothing that I did was good enough… Forgive me daddy, I tried very hard to live.” The shockingly poignant video statement Mandeep Kaur, a young New York-based NRI, posted moments before dying by suicide last week, has stunned the South Asian community across the US. The viral recording, documenting eight years of abuse Mandeep suffered at the hands of her husband Ranjodhvir Sandhu and in-laws for not birthing a son, has spawned a web of vigils in New York, with people seeking justice for the 30-year-old. It was not her time to die, says Japneet Singh, a local political worker, adding, “Enough is enough.” Back in India, Mandeep’s family is pain-stricken and in utter disbelief over her daughters, ages six and four, continuing to be in the custody of Sandhu.

Main problems faced by  NRI  women

  • Abandonment of wife in India after marriage.
  • Husband’s whereabouts unknown and marriage not registered. In the absence of the husband’s address and contact details, police action is not possible.
  • Abuse by husband, in-laws abroad.
  • NRI spouse threatens wife with cancellation of visa or PR Pass or Dependent Pass if she complains to police or does not withdraw complaint.
  • In many developed countries, there are strict privacy laws. Indian national cannot obtain any information about the husband without his consent.
  • Lenient divorce grounds abroad: NRI spouses often secure ex-parte decree of divorce in the foreign country through wrongful representation of facts, without promise of alimony and even take custody of children.

Conversations with Mandeep’s brother Sandeep Singh, who lives in Uttar Pradesh’s Bijnor, reveal that her troubles began soon after she bore the first daughter after the marriage was solemnized on February 1, 2015. But hopes of a better future kept the abuse hidden.

(Based on a story published in The Tribune)

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