Thousands of Brides in India Are Abandoned by Husbands Overseas

“One lives here,” said Kulwinder Kaur, who said she was herself tricked into a marriage in 1999, pointing from her terrace toward a door to the right of her house. “Another lives there,” she continued, gesturing toward an entry gate made of bamboo, to the left of her house.

After her marriage, Ms. Kaur, who is not related to Sharndeep Kaur, lived with her husband for nine months in his parents’ home in Kotli. He worked as a carpenter before he left for Canada without telling her. She continues to live with her in-laws, who are both bedridden, 24 years after her marriage.

“I am just like a servant in his house,” she said.

On a recent bright morning, Satwinder Kaur Satti, who heads Abbnhi, a support group for left-behind women, was talking to visitors in her home in Ludhiana when her phone rang.

“Can you please help me?” a woman asked as she cried over the phone after saying she had been beaten by her mother-in-law for failing to arrange money for her overseas son.

At the woman’s home, Ms. Satti, who also said she was the victim of a fraudulent marriage, encouraged her to file a police complaint, but the woman wanted to wait a few months. “Your husband will never take you out, remember this,” Ms. Satti told her. “File a police case or die waiting.”

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