In Room 305 in Chandigarh’s Regional Passport Office, Reena and Amrit sit together to sift through collections of documents. The apartment is abuzz with pleasure, as the women scan through many applications, neglect the filing of various FIRs, and maintain a carefully curated roll of reputations to be taken to regional passport polouse( RPO) Sibash Kabiraj.
These young women are on a goal — to deliver justice to brides deserted by abscond NRI partners. And as Reena documents, this is all thanks to the efforts of the IPS officer, who was the first to take over their cause.
Kabiraj( 44) is a 1999 -batch IPS officer of the Haryana cadre, who has been in the announcing since 2017. He has been a rare beacon of hope for women who have been cheated of a decent living by their husbands.
“A group of women first approached me in 2018, ” Kabiraj tells The Better India. “They were in immense distress. After marriage, their partners had set up within foreign countries. This is commonplace across Punjab and parts of Haryana. Once the spouses arrived here these foreign countries, they don’t disclose to officials there that they have spouses back home. In many cases, they be brought to an end remarrying. Then they’ll visit home for a few weeks once a year, have a good time and then leave again. But they never take their brides along.”
Sibash Kabiraj( Source: Sibash Kabiraj) A fight for justice
He adds, “The real trauma starts once they have kids with their wives back home. The husbands get citizenship outside and then never return. The brides, meanwhile, are either pregnant or once have a kid or two, and the in-laws start mistreating them.”
Kabiraj says, “She’s prevented more or less as a servant, deemed are worth exclusively doing home operate. Many times, the in-laws likewise kick her out of the house. In other instances, the husband and his family will marry one girlfriend, take large amounts of dowry, and then desert her and move on to another woman, without disclosing the existence of his first wife.”
Among these women was Reena( 33 ). “I was married on 25 November 2012 in Kurukshetra. My husband was in the police force. Things were quite good for the first few years. But he had a relative who are in the US, which is itself had married twice — one bride was here and the other was with him in the US. When that relative visited us, he told my husband about the life he was produce, and I think that’s how he was swayed, ” she says.
In 2017, Reena’s husband fled to Mexico and arrived in the US illegally. For a month, she didn’t hear from him and had no idea where he was. “A month last-minute, he called me and said he was posted somewhere from effort. After that, there was only chaos, ” she recalls.
Reena is among a group identified TogetherWeCan, which fights for the plight of such women vacated by absconding husbands, which was begun as a WhatsApp group of women from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
“I learned that even women who go with their spouses through the H4 Visa are facing huge disturbances. Once they arrive in the foreign country, they’re informed by their husband that he previously has a wife there, and the dependent girl is given two options — do household chores, or leave, ” Reena says.
The women have been given a dedicated bureau to work on the cases( Source: Reena/ Sibash Kabiraj)
“In this group, numerous dames told me to keep looking out for the term’ passport impound’, and do more research on that. After we realised what this expression necessitated, we reached out to Kabiraj sir, ” she adds.
When the women came to Kabiraj for help, they were truly helpless, he says. “The courts and NRI Commission were of no help, and the women’s in-laws were either ill-treating them or had knocked them out fully. They had children to care for and no subsistence of their own.”
Kabiraj took it upon himself to support their efforts to. As he sat down to look into what could be done, he came across a area in the Passports Act, 1967. “Section 10( 3 ) states that if a summons, warrant or criminal case is pending against an Indian passport holder, then the passport is impossible to impounded or eliminated. But this provision was not too much in use. This is because impounding or elimination is a exceedingly boring process and involves a large amount of paperwork — you need to have a copy of the warrant, chargesheet, FIR and more. The above-mentioned documents have to be absolutely accurate or the subject falls apart in court, ” he says.
Women stand together
“When I spoke to the girls, I found that many of them has been extremely developed — some were CAs, some were doctors and some had even done law. So we made a task force of 10 -1 5 girls and I dedicated them country offices with expected facilities. We trained them to take up such cases, coached them how to draw up notices, and how to collect asked documents. Documents “thats been” earlier not made available to them by the police were now at their dumping. We coordinated with the police to make sure that happened. These wives do 90% of the efforts and one authority official is mailed with them to supervise. The final record is then submitted to me and we cancel or confiscate the passport accordingly, ” Kabiraj explains.
After the passport is cancelled, the visa is deemed void. Thereafter, when the alleged goes to the passport office to avail of any services, he is deported to India. If one arrives in India with an confiscated passport, his passport is immediately confiscated at international airports. “In the last three years, we have impounded and offset around 500 passports, and more than 75 such abscond husbands have been arrested, ” Kabiraj says. “Many of them have been compelled to return to India and ended their accommodations with these women, many have faced criminal trials as well.”
Explaining the steps that Reena and her squad take to help a casualty, she justifies, “When a woman comings us, we firstly talk to them and hear them out. Then we take down an employment, a photocopy of the FIR, a Look Out Circular( LOC) and the warrant. To impound the passport, first a notice is sent to the husband. Then, a week later, another 7-day notice is sent. If after all this, the man decides not to comply–which happens more often than not–the passport is impounded.” This is a month-long process, she adds.
Reena remembers, “When we approached sir, he was very appalled by what we were going through. He navigated us through the entire process. He told us he had a shortage of manpower, but more than that, he missed the task force to be able to relate to what we were going through. A regular unit would only view our situation as another professional task, which is what sir didn’t want. He absolutely empathised with us. No one has helped us the practice Kabiraj sir has. He sat with us for hours on end, see us out patiently, listened to us cry and laugh about our endure, helped us get counselling, and incessantly caused us. He told us to view ourselves as fighters and not victims.”
Kabiraj helped Reena and her squad brace summits and reach out to a wider range of women going through the same publishes. “We taught other girls how they can help each other attain justice. We could understand each other’s plight. So countless gals come to us with two-three children and nowhere to go, with no pause, and it’s so heartbreaking to see, ” Reena says.
Edited by Yoshita Rao
Read more: thebetterindia.com