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Curse of the dowry !

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Surrey trio plotted murder, police allege

Ludhiana: Indian cops lay charges in alleged conspiracy to kill father of young bride

Fabian Dawson, Jupinderjit Singh

The Province; The Tribune, India; with a file from Pooja Sekhon in Surrey

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Indian police have arrested four men, including one from Surrey, and charged them with conspiracy to murder the father of a young bride in Ludhiana, Punjab.

They have also issued arrest warrants for the woman's husband and his cousin, who live in Surrey.

Police charges allege that the husband and his cousin hired a group of contract killers for 120,000 rupees (about $3,000) after the father of the bride could not raise the dowry for his daughter.

According to police, the bride, Pawanjot Kaur, who came to Canada to look for her husband but without the $75,000 dowry, is currently living with her grandfather in Edmonton. The couple were married in 2004 but the bride was told that she could not come to Canada until the dowry was settled.

Dowries -- normally in cash, jewelry or land -- are gifts a woman brings to her husband in marriage. It is an ancestral custom officially abolished in India, but one that prevails in practice and is considered a sacred duty of the father.

While there is no suggestion of the involvement of the in-laws in this case, on average, Indian police record one case an hour of brides being violently ill-treated by their in-laws for failure to deliver dowry. The practice of giving dowry, widely acknowledged as a social evil in India, led to the murder or suicide of 7,618 women in India last year, according to official statistics.

Court papers and police reports in the alleged dowry-related murder conspiracy identify the four arrested men as Ramandeep Singh, alias Rimpy, of Surrey and three alleged contract killers -- Sunil Kumar, alias Moni, Kulwant Singh, alias Kanta, and Jaskaran Singh, alias Jassi.

Police say they arrested the four last Thursday night while they were on their way to Mundiya village outside the industrial city of Ludhiana, where the bride's family lived.

Police seized a car, two guns, ammunition, Canadian, U.S. and Indian currency and a photo of the bride from the suspects.

Two others who were in the car and believed to be part of the plot escaped. Police are searching for them in the district of Ganganagar, where the alleged contract killers lived.

Also charged with conspiracy to kill under the Indian penal code are two men: Pawanjot Kaur's husband, Veerharinder Singh, a Surrey businessman, and his cousin, Sukhvir Singh, alias Sukhi.

Indian police said they plan to seek the extradition of the two.

"The conspiracy to kill was allegedly hatched in Canada about two months ago," Ludhiana Senior Superintendent of Police R.K. Jais-wal told The Province.

Jaiswal said that police were tipped off to the plot by a man who overheard the four suspects allegedly planning the murder at a roadside restaurant.

"The accused were allegedly planning their operation sitting in a Dhaba [roadside restaurant], when a local informed us about the plot. We laid a trap and arrested the gang members.

"The suspects are accused of planning to kill Pawanjot's father, Ranphul Singh," Jaiswal said.

Jaiswal said preliminary investigations suggest that Ramandeep Singh was sent from Surrey to oversee the operation after the hired killers in India failed in an earlier attempt.

Police tracked 60,000 rupees sent from Surrey to the hired hit men via a Western Union money transfer two months ago, he said. "Ramandeep had a return ticket to Canada dated Jan. 1, 2008," said Jaiswal.

Jaiswal said the dowry involved in Pawanjot's marriage was 30 lakhs rupees (three million rupees or about $75,000).

"Pawanjot's husband and in-laws kept postponing her visa application. Later, the family demanded 30 lakhs for sponsoring the bride to Canada," he said.

"The father-in-law refused to give this money and, after waiting for three years, Pawanjot came to Canada legally on her own. It annoyed her husband and in-laws."

Jaiswal described the case as bringing a "new dimension" to the issue of abandoned brides.

The phenomenon of India's abandoned brides was detailed in an award-winning series by The Province two years ago.

The extent of the social tragedy is reflected in official studies that say 30,000 women in India have been left behind by their overseas-based husbands, referred to as non-resident Indians.

The Province series inspired new legislation in India and a religious decree from the Sikh holy city of Amritsar condemning the practice of giving dowries. It also led to the formation of an international network of special units and non-governmental organizations to aid abandoned brides.

© The Vancouver Province 2007

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sickening. These people should be beaten by shoes, get there face blackened, put them on donkeys with garland of shoes around there neck.

let's not get Vishnu Ji all angered......... :evil: otherwise he'll gather a lot of donkeys and make the shoe stores very happy.................. :LOL::LOL::LOL:

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