It’s been eight months since Siminder Kaur has held her child Anhad in her arms. Barring the two-hour meeting last month, the mother has mostly been kept away from her child by her in-laws.
Almost a year ago, Siminder flew down to India from her home in the US to attend a family wedding in her husband’s city Mohali (Punjab). Little did she know, this would turn out to be the biggest regret of her life.
Her in-laws convinced her to leave Anhad in Mohali and go back to her home in the US along with her husband. They told her that she should work on her troubled marriage with her husband while her child could stay back in India with his grandparents. Convinced and coerced by emotional manipulation, she left her 15-month old child in Mohali and went back to America only to find out she has been deceived all this while.
Only when I repeatedly begged my husband to get Anhad back, did I realize that he had no intention of bringing him back. It had been a ploy all along!
On April 21, 2016, she rushed back to India to get her son back. To her shock, her in-laws denied her to enter their house but also called up local police to threaten her. In reply, the police asked the mother to comply and get a court order if she really wants to see her son. She said:
“Wasn’t this the same Indian police that verified that I live in that home before issuing me a passport?”
All these months, Siminder has been fighting a tough battle in Indian courts proving herself by repeatedly spelling out the rights and feelings of a mother. Her husband keeps going back to the US to save his job, while her son remains locked inside his grandparent’s house 24×7. Since three months, Siminder has been begging for help from organizations all over. She adds:
”…Mohali police, Indian courts, Indian Government, US Consulate, US congressmen, US government, NCW, other NGOs, neighbors, common friends, religious workers, strangers, media. And yet, I am still running with no end in sight. I’m now on the very verge of losing my job in the US. My in-laws continue to harass me and my family.”
According to her, this is a prevalent issue in India, especially in Punjab. She calls it a case of ”International abduction by a parent”. In her petition to National Commission for Women in India, she has raised valid points against the injustice happening. ”I am NOT a criminal, mentally unsound person, or drug abuser/ addict; why, then, should I be away from my child for so long?” ”This is NOT a divorce or custody battle; I am still married to my husband.” ”Why is the police NOT HELPING ME? Don’t the police in India protect the mothers?” ”Why do I have to fight for my rights in courts?”
Being a mother gives a woman a natural right to be with her child and raise him. And no legal authority or orders should interfere with as basic as a right like this. It’s deeply saddening to see a mother publicly wailing and fighting to get her own son back.
She’s definitely not the first Indian women to go through this. There have been many and could be many more if we don’t step up.
Let’s help Siminder get justice by signing her petition on Change.org.