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Flipping through her wedding album, a 30-page collection of glossy photos with sugary captions such as "Perfect Match," Sandeep Kaur grimaces as she recalls her wedding last year to a young man from Brampton.
While Luthra says he was granted a divorce in a Canadian court in September, Kaur says an Indian court has refused to recognize the dissolution of the marriage."You can threaten your husband that you will file a case, but most laugh and say they will tie it up in the courts for years," says Varinder Kaur (no relation), 28, whose Canadian husband left her to return to the Toronto region within days of their January 2006 marriage.
Kaur says the only contact he has had with her since then has been phone calls demanding a sports car and cash from his new in-laws in exchange for bringing her to Canada.
But Luthra says he is the one who has been harassed and that Kaur's family only married him to obtain his ancestral home in Batala, a home now occupied by his 87-year-old grandfather."The only thing that family wanted is our house, money and Canadian immigration," Luthra said from his home in Brampton.
But the success of the country's female leaders seems far removed in the villages and cities of Punjab.
One morning this week, Sandeep Kaur and her father, Gurmeet Singh, travelled to Jalandhar to discuss her case with police and Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, a former Indian cabinet minister who has been advocating a reform of Indian laws to prevent abandoned bride cases.
Several Indian states have female chief ministers while the CEO of ICICI Bank, one of India's largest financial institutions, is also a woman.