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US court grants victory to Indian mom whose baby was abducted by estranged husband.


The abduction of children by a parent is a very real nightmare for scores of parents and one which all too many Indian mothers – and in some cases fathers – are acutely aware.

The combination of a deeply patriarchal society and India’s unwillingness to sign up to the Hague Convention on Child Abduction has made the country the perfect safe haven for parents who spirit children away, causing untold misery.

As India’s Diaspora expands and spreads across the world, such abductions have become all too commonplace.

Simminder Kaur’s is just one such story – a successful professional settled with her husband in Tennessee whose child was taken to India by her partner who left him in the care of his parents and disallowed Simminder any access to the child.

It’s a story that the UKAsian reported on in 2016. After months of relentless fighting, it appears that the tide may be turning in Simminder’s favour after the state Appeals Court in Tennessee ruled this week that not only should Simminder’s two-and-a-half year old son be returned to her from India but also charged her husband with kidnapping.

It is the culmination of an extraordinarily brave near year-long campaign by Simminder for justice.

Kaur, 33, is originally from the Punjab. An ambitious and hardworking IT professional, Kaur and her scientist husband Vaneet Singh married and moved to Memphis, Tennessee in March 2008.

Anhad was born in 2014. Soon after, the couple’s marriage began crumbling with allegations of alcohol abuse and domestic violence thrown at each other.

The real nightmare began in October 2015, when the couple travelled to India to attend the wedding of Vaneet’s brother. There they agreed to leave Anhad with Vaneet’s parents in order to work on their marriage when they returned to Memphis.

Once back in the US however, things went from bad to worse and the couple separated. In early 2016, Simminder returned to India to retrieve Anhad only to be completely shut out of her in-law’s home.

The local police, better attuned to local politics and loyalties, quite literally shooed her away, according to Simminder.

Then followed months of legal battles as an hysterical Simminder fought to even catch a glimpse of her own son. The battle went all the way to the High Court of Punjab where a judge – for reasons that remain mind bogglingly unclear – rejected a mother’s petition to retrieve her son and return to the US where Anhad is a citizen.

Unbowed by a society that is intent on subjugating her, she resumed her legal battle in the United States where in October a local court in Tennessee granted Simminder temporary custody of Anhad and demanded that the toddler be brought back to the United States.

Vaneet Singh however, appealed the decision and went to the state’s Appeal’s court which ruled on Monday that the father’s case had no grounds for appeal and that Anhad should indeed be brought back to the United States.

In a dramatic turn of events soon after the court’s decision, Singh was arrested by the FBI on federal abduction charges. Facing charges that include international parental kidnapping and conspiracy, he has reportedly agreed to comply with the court’s order and make arrangements to have Anhad returned to the United States.

In submissions made to the court, the FBI said that there is probable cause that Singh “conspired with his parents to keep the toddler Anhad Singh in India and obstruct the parental rights of the mother”.

An elated Simminder made the announcement on her Facebook page on Tuesday: “I am shivering as I type this update. The Court of Appeals have ruled in my favor! They have upheld the trial court’s order and dismissed the appeal filed by my soon to be ex-husband. In fact, they say that permission to file the appeal was improvidently granted. He has to bring Anhad back!!”
She added: “Let’s all pray that may good sense prevail and Anhad’s father and grandparents do the right thing now.”

An elated Simminder made the announcement on her Facebook page on Tuesday: “I am shivering as I type this update. The Court of Appeals have ruled in my favor! They have upheld the trial court’s order and dismissed the appeal filed by my soon to be ex-husband. In fact, they say that permission to file the appeal was improvidently granted. He has to bring Anhad back!!”

She added: “Let’s all pray that may good sense prevail and Anhad’s father and grandparents do the right thing now.”

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