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My Journey as an Immigrant Spouse, Falsely Accused

'I was constantly forced to entertain my sister in law, who made untoward advances towards me and invited me alone in her room.'

'It was literally a planned and a well-coordinated exercise in a small town with people already hostile towards you given you’re an alien to them.'

Five years ago, on 23rd of December 2018, I first set foot on UK soil. I arrived on a tourist visa to see my future life partner and wife who promised the world to me. We met on a matrimonial site, which translates to in English but is an Indian version. We spoke for a few months, and in this modern day and age she was able to get a detailed glimpse of my life via a plethora of electronic platforms available for communication.

She had a detailed account of where I live, work, educational qualifications and relationship history, including photographs of someone I was with back in 2012. Yes, she was that invasive - but it did seem to me that she was hiding a lot, hence the short visit on a tourist visa for 17 days.

Upon arrival I learned that she had two sisters that she had lied about on the matrimonial site, which was immaterial to me then. One of these was severely mentally challenged, and was to play a very crucial part in my acrimonious relationship. When I arrived where she lived and was picked up my then parents-in-law to be, I was asked about my family’s ancestral heritage and the possible inheritance coming my way. She demanded that there was to be a house in the future coming from me. After a lengthy discussion we agreed to build a life based on our competencies and professional backgrounds (I had far more experience and qualifications).

After taking into account all these aspects and to reflect on the overall relationship, I returned to India to discuss with my folks about how I thought all this might turn out to be (i.e. my worst nightmare as of today).

When I returned to India in January 2019 I gave a detailed account of what had happened to my parents - both alive and well then - and they had strong reservations about the relationship. My then future in-laws demanded that they speak to my parents, as having lived with her daughter for 17 days under the same roof put them in a spot, but they didn’t see any concerns with the whole idea of us getting married.

After lengthy discussions they managed to convince my parents that they were very traditional Gujaratis and believed in life long marriages, hence the ‘tests’ on their part. They requested that they meet my parents in person and take things further, and would like to come to India to meet them. My parents agreed.

Since having realised her intentions about a matrimonial home, I insisted that their stay was arranged in a hotel and reminded her of her commitment that she was here for me and not the property. She hesitantly agreed and arrangements were made (all stay booked in international 5-star hotels chains, borne by me). We also agreed to go for a short tour of Goa during her visit; throughout the journey my father-in-law stuck close to us and lived in the same room. My return visa, as a marriage visitor, was applied for before her arrival, and so was my ticket to the UK.

I applied for a marriage visitor on purpose as I still was very skittish about the family. I had my home, my ongoing masters degree and everything going for me in India, hence I would have had no problem supporting her there either. Nevertheless I arrived in the UK and we married in a registrar’s office. I spent a good 5 months in the county on that visa in order to get used to my new life. This is when I realised the serious trouble into which I had landed myself.

Upon my arrival I had unwelcome visits by my in-laws every day, especially when my ex wife was at work. There was a constant demand regarding money and property from my father-in-law that I may inherit in the future, to be transferred on an immediate basis, right from my arrival. This was when things started going downhill pretty quickly.

I was constantly forced to entertain my sister in law, who made untoward advances towards me and invited me alone into her room. She made me very uncomfortable with her long hugs, and constantly kept asking me to go out alone with her. When I resisted she fought with me and said I needed to go back to India. I have some recordings of her too. The question was if I am married to X, why is Y coming along as a package?

After fending that off, my ex wife refused to move to a different area in Gloucester and insisted that we live nearby, around her close associates so they could constantly watch me when I was at home. She also had spies monitoring me at work, and would go on to accurately describe my colleagues to me without even taking their names. Turns out that the training manager lived right opposite to us - but criminals know how to circumvent the law and exercise plausible deniability.

I was unlawfully terminated from my jobs, which was used as an excuse to file for a divorce. Being my sponsor she literally undertook a guarantee with the home office that she was to support me through thick and thin until I managed to settle down properly - let alone making it one of the grounds in a divorce. It was literally a planned and a well coordinated exercise in a small town with people already hostile towards you given you’re an alien to them.

Fights in our relationship were a daily occurrence and instigated that way. You have no choice but to protect yourself by putting everything on record so they cannot easily frame you afterwards. After a lot of acrimony and trying to frame me with the police - who never got in touch with me after she approached them - she filed for a divorce. She claimed, falsely, that I had been physically and emotionally abusive and that I had refused to support her in any way.

She managed to get a witness statement from someone who I don’t think was even around to witness her harassment. She only mentioned about it in court but it was never revealed to me. I think it was GDASS, a domestic abuse charity which she had approached, known to favour women over men just based on their claims. I have plenty of documentation to prove that her intentions were solely to extract my inheritance and then kick me out of the country, which she relentlessly tried to do in court. She did this by hiring a criminal lawyer to prove that I used her to get into the country, but I was unrepresented.

The post-separation abuse never ends. I was driven out of town where we used to live together. My house was broken into and my iCloud hacked by her shoulder-surfing my pin on my phone, which happened to be the same for my computer. I was regularly intercepted and my mails went missing - I was bewildered by all of this until one fine day I realised what was going on. I was unlawfully evicted from my matrimonial home despite taking full responsibility for the rent (or the council helping me) and to this day I get stalked by one proxy or the other, trying to drag me into something in order to target me.

The court proceedings seemed to have favoured her immensely despite there being plenty of evidence to prove her wrong-doings. In a maintenance pending suit the judge said that I had received documents for the divorce part, had me shut up by literally yelling at me when I told her the agenda for the day's hearing, and only let her counsel talk.

It was proven in court during financial proceedings that she had not only defrauded me but also the home office by declaring funds meant to support me as a loan from her father (it was her money all along). The court threatened me with costs and let her walk away scot-free. Her counsel declared fees more than what I had requested from her, and the court accepted that.

By Sagaer Majithia

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