Dear Nick and Priyanka,
Congratulations!!! We are very happy to see you both are tying the knot and sending you our best wishes. We are delighted to see your bridal shower pics and how much Nick is missing Priyanka.
We are a group of parents also known as LBP which stands for Left Behind Parents. We are victims of IPCA. And No IPCA is not an exotic poisonous fruit, although it is the fruit of a marriage gone sour, with our children being forcibly removed from their home country and/or retained in India against our wishes. India is well known as a safe haven for abduction and according to Department of State/USA data, 100s of children are abducted every year from USA to India.
However, we don’t want to steal the joy of your precious moments but would like to caution you Nick about International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA). While we don’t mean to frighten you off kids Nick, and our timing could have been better, we thought it’s better late than never for you to be aware.
Have you heard about IPCA before? NO? OK, we can explain. IPCA is the illegal removal of children from their home by a “taking” parent to a foreign country. Thousands of children are being abducted by one parent to a country out of USA each year. One of the risk factors is a spouse of foreign extraction who has family roots and ties abroad. Ninety-nine countries have signed the UN Hague Convention which allows such abducted children to be returned expeditiously. In your case not only is Ms. Chopra of Indian origin, her family and ties are all there. But what is worse is that India’s is one of the few countries that have steadfastly refused to sign the Hague Convention for abducted children, nor recognizes parental abduction as a crime. Moreover, just the fact of being married in India by Hindu rites makes the Indian courts take jurisdiction over the fate of US born and raised children. On top of it, the delays in the Indian judicial system are legion. You can Google it. Department of State/USA summarized India’s IPCA record- read in the provided link. (Department of State publishes annual report and more details can be found at https://travel.state.gov/content/dam/NEWIPCAAssets/pdfs/AnnualReports/2018%20Annual%20Report%20on%20International%20Child%20Abduction%20FINAL1.pdf)
Victims of IPCA are not only the LBPs like us, but our kids who live as illegals in India. The obstacles to their return to USA include the fact that India is not a signatory to Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, 1980, treaty. This means, once a child is abducted to India, there is no legal framework for its return which leads to the next issue.
Secondly, India does not recognize parental child abduction as a crime, leaving the parent left behind to fight it as a custody battle in courts in India and the home country of the abducting parent. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that courts in India do not recognize US court orders either. Not only that, you will face huge hurdles to even get access to your own children once you get into this situation.
Several of us LBPs, have lost our children to such abductions, and are facing this on a daily basis, many of us have not seen or talked to our child/ren for over 4-5 years. This is a constant heartache for us. Besides, the children are suffering too, for they are deprived the love of the other parent for no fault of theirs.
Priyanka, we hope things never come to this. However, we do know that you have publicly said that you would only marry to have a child and fully don’t need a man for anything else. But we see you as champion children’s rights. We would love to help you better understand how children’s fundamental rights are being violated by India.
We hope you and Nick together will make children’s rights a priority and help us get our children back to USA.
We request both of you to raise your voice for the voiceless victims of IPCA, our children. You both have influence as you have a great fan following, people admire and follow you. We are looking forward to hearing from you and want to see you both as ambassadors for these children.
We all wish you the best and a happy married life and we pray neither of you face child abduction.
With love and best wishes.