14 Jan 2005

Misuse of Dowry Laws go International

Posted by Misuse_dowry_act in General | 10:10am


Ref: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1139.html

DOWRY/VISA DEMANDS: A number of U.S. citizen men who have come to India to marry Indian nationals have been arrested and charged with crimes related to dowry extraction. Many of the charges stem from the U.S. citizen's inability to provide an immigrant visa for his prospective spouse to travel immediately to the United States. The courts sometimes order the U.S. citizen to pay large sums of money to his spouse in exchange for the dismissal of charges. The courts normally confiscate the American's passport, and he must remain in India until the case has been settled. There are also cases of U.S. citizen women whose families force them against their will into marriages to Indian nationals.

Shame for Indian Government

as written in article in www.indiawest.com by LISA TSERING
(requires subscription)

The US State Department cannot say how many false complaints are filed
each year. However, "The fact that we issued a warning should be an
indication of how widespread the problem is," said John Peters, the
department's Citizen Services Specialist for India. Peters, who is
based in Washington, D.C., told India-West that the local American
Embassies could provide a list of Indian lawyers in New Delhi.
Angela Aggeler, a spokesperson for the State Department in
Washington, D.C.,
said that "American citizens are often extremely
desirable" to Indian families with marriageable daughters.
Still, as in any case where an American citizen is accused of
breaking local laws overseas, there is not much that the State
Department can do, she told India-West. "Our role in the State
Department is maintaining the safety and security of American
citizens overseas. That is even more important to us than issuing
visas." Although the department will do "what we can to ensure fair
treatment under local laws, you need to be aware of the laws in that
country, regardless of how true the accusations are. It's incumbent
upon [the U.S. citizen] to adhere to the local law."
Aggeler, who has lived in India, says she empathizes with citizens in
this predicament. "I know how complicated the law is in India," she
Aggeler said the State Department decided to publish the travel
warning after receiving information from the three U.S. embassies in
India as well as from local law enforcement agencies and global
agencies such as Interpol.
Just as the U.S. State Department's ability to get involved is limited, so too is that of the Indian Embassy here in the U.S. Akhilesh Mishra, deputy consul general for the Consulate General of India in San Francisco, told India-West: "The Consulate has no specific role or comment on the issue, which has to be addressed
through usual legal means."

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