An Indian-origin researcher at Cambridge University has been accused of a horrific series of abuse against his Indian wife of 6 years.
According to a First Information Report (FIR) filed in the town of Kashipur, northeast of New Delhi, Amit Kumar Tiwari, 35, is accused of the physical, emotional and mental abuse, coercive control and demanding tens of thousands of pounds in dowry from his 31-year-old wife Tanvi Gaur.
Tiwari is currently employed as a research associate at Cambridge University, according to his LinkedIN profile, and is actively sought by police in India, from where he is recorded as having ignored instructions to remain in-situ as the case against him is investigated.
In the latest case of an NRI man luring an unwitting Indian girl to the UK, only to abuse and abandon her, Ms Gaur – a gold medallist and PhD holder in science – details in harrowing detail in the FIR what she was subjected to over the course of her short-lived marriage and go from blushing bride looking forward to a bright new future in the UK to finding herself cold, alone, frightened in an empty bus shelter in the middle of the night.
According to Ms Gaur, she had been excited and thrilled about beginning a new life in the UK following the couple’s traditional nuptials in Sambhal in Uttar Pradesh in December 2014.
But the abuse began almost immediately and the modus operandi followed a familiar pattern.
According to Ms Gaur, the day after arriving in the UK, Tiwari blocked the contacts of all of her family members and relatives on her phone and barred her from having any contact with them.
“He told me that I should forget my parents, siblings and relatives because I was now married to him. He warned me against making any local friends especially Indian friends and said I must only listen to him”, Ms Gaur says.
The other frequently used tactic is the “guilt trip”; convincing the woman that she is in the UK thanks to the generosity and munificence of the man, implanting in the mind of the woman that she is forever indebted to him because the great fortune he has bestowed on her by bringing her to the UK.
“He said I have now given you this phone and SIM card so I have the ability record all your phone calls, so I will know if you call your family in my absence and tell them anything about my behaviour”, Ms Gaur says.
Then the mental and physical abuse began, Ms Gaur claims.
These are her words.
“There have been so many incidents that I cannot detail them all. He has tried to choke me with a pillow, thrown things at me, pulled my hair, poured hot oil on my hands and the list goes on. But the worst was having him treat my body as some sort of baby factory”, Ms Gaur says.
In 2018, according to the FIR, Ms Gaur suffered a serious miscarriage. Soon after, even as she was recovering from the emotional and physical scars of the miscarriage, Tiwari was forcing her to get pregnant again.
As ever, the coercive control often extends to financial affairs. In this case, Tanvi says her husband set up a joint account but told her in no uncertain terms that she was not to use the account or access funds, as it was “purely for the purposes of establishing “proof of address”.
While working in what can only be called a prestigious industry, Tanvi says Amit was a miser.
“He would force me to stand in a Tesco show near our home and wait for the reduce to clear items to go on sale between 6 pm and 7 pm and rush in and stock up on things.
This is Ms Gaur in her own words.
“While living in Newcastle where we had first moved after our marraige, in November 2016 I discovered that I was pregnant. Amit did not want me to have a baby so he took me to our GP who referred us to an organisation called the British Pregnancy and Advisory Service (BPAS), which that would help with an abortion.
“I attended an appointment with BPAS and was given tablets to end my pregnancy. I was around one month to six weeks pregnant at this time. I didn’t want to end the pregnancy but because of Amit’s abusive behaviour I couldn’t do anything.
“In around April 2017, I discovered that I was pregnant for a second time. Amit forced me to travel to India with him, where he made me keep my pregnancy a secret. He took me to his parents’ home, dumped me there and returned to the UK without me. While there, I was forced to work for his mother (Mrs Malti Sharma), father (Mr Nathuram Sharma) and brother (Mr Atul Kumar Tiwari) as a sort of a maidservant.
“I did all the housework, including cleaning and cooking and they treated me very badly. The pregnancy caused me to faint many times while working there but these people didn’t show any mercy on me.
“Then the demands for money began again. Amit’s parents and brother claimed that I didn’t have any right to stay in the house unless my father paid up more money and ‘brought a car’ for them, failing which I would not be kept in the house. At the same time, I was ‘under orders’ from Amit to not step out of the house under the threat that he would ‘break my legs’. It was like living in some sort of terrible disaster movie.
“My parents had given Amit’s family money and jewellery, some of it meant to secure my future. But as with everything I was in the dark as to where the money had gone and what had happened to it. But here were new demands for money and a luxury car while working to cook and clean in my husband’s parents house.
“After two weeks of this, my mother, who was aware that I was at Amit’s house but was completely unaware of what I was going through, came to visit me. I was completely exhausted from work and due to my pregnancy. My mother did all of the jobs that were expected from me and then she took me to my family’s home. I did not tell my mother that I was pregnant because Amit wanted to keep it a secret but I was experiencing sickness, which I could not hide from my mother, so she guessed that I was pregnant.
“Because I was not feeling well my mother took me to the hospital straight away. Although Amit did not want to, I wanted to keep the baby. At the hospital the doctor gave me some tablets and some vitamins. I then stayed with my parents for around two weeks, until I was feeling better. Then I went back to Amit’s family because Amit was angry at me and blocked me on all communication platforms.
“In June 2017 I became unwell again and eventually I fainted. Because I was also bleeding, Amit’s family took me to the hospital. I had had another miscarriage and I underwent a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure, but this was not a good hospital and the treatment I received was poor. I ended up being in considerable pain for a long time after the procedure and this has also affected me with serious mental and emotional scars. My nerves were swollen for months because of an inappropriate mixture of anaesthetic administered to me at the hospital. Amit and his family blamed my mother and I for the miscarriage, saying that it was because she took me to my parent’s home and this is what caused me to have the miscarriage.
“Amit had already planned that I would stay in India but my father and my grandparents, talked to his family and persuaded them that it is better for me to be with Amit in the UK. This was an arranged marriage, but neither Amit nor I was forced into the marriage and we were both happy to enter into the marriage. In fact, my grandfather asked Amit many times before we got married if it was what he wanted, and he said he did. So, it was very upsetting for my family that Amit could treat me in this way. My father promised to pay for my ticket to the UK and my expenses, and eventually it was agreed that I would return to Amit in the UK.
“I returned to the UK on 19 July 2017 and we moved to Cambridge in September 2017 after Amit secured a job at the University. He may have moved into one of the most prestigious professional settings in the world, at home, he remained a violent abuser who paid no heed to the fact that I had just gone through yet another traumatic miscarriage. And he continued to control me financially and socially.
“Then the demands for money began again. Despite my ill health, I began to be humiliated for not finding a job. So I started working as a part time digital marketing assistant. The first thing he did? Told me to put my salary in a joint account and demand that I pay for half of everything, despite me working just two days a week at just about minimum wage.
“He also said if you buy anything for yourself, I will chuck that in the bin. It’s my money which you earn because I brought you here in this country. In an email he sent to me he mentioned he would review my bank account every three months and he should be informed of any transaction that was more than £100.00.
“Then I fell into a deep depression, with constant thoughts of suicide. On 21 February 2018 it all became too much for me as Amit had again physically attacked me for money. He said he will not want to see me in the house in the evening. I was very scared so I left the house with the intention that I would take my own life. I had thought that I could throw myself in front of a moving vehicle and end my life that way. I sent Amit an email to tell him that it would be my last email. I did not believe that he would care, but for some reason he contacted the police and told them I am missing. The police then tried to contact me on my phone. A lady in the street helped me to get to the police station and when I got there, I told them what had happened.
“After talking to the police about Amit’s behaviour I decided that I did not want to take the matter any further because of my culture. I spoke with my father about this and he told me to give Amit another chance. He said that our society would not think that it is appropriate for me to report my husband to the police. Because I hoped that Amit might change and everything will be fine, I agreed to do as my father suggested.
“But at the same time, Women’s Aid organization made contact with me and suggested me to report any sort of abusive behaviour of Amit. After the incident with the police in February 2018, Amit’s behaviour hardly changed at all. He was still aggressive and controlling and, of course, wanted to get me pregnant again.
“I believe that Amit and his family knew that if I was pregnant, I would be dependent on him. Amit began scrupulously attending all my GP and other medical appointments perhaps to ensure sure I wouldn’t open up. When I became pregnant for the third time, Amit came with me to all appointments with the GP, mid-wife and the hospital to be sure that I did not tell anyone about his behaviour. Unfortunately, in March 2019 I had another a miscarriage and had to take medication to manage the miscarriage, and I was actually admitted to hospital. In spite of what I went through, Amit treated me horrifically. When I got home from the hospital he physically abused me and demanded that I cook for him. He and his family blamed me for the miscarriage and they reminded me of this all the time.
“After my third miscarriage I was completely exhausted and felt unwell all the time and I could not sleep. I asked my GP for some sleeping tablets which were prescribed to me I was so depressed because of what I had been going through.
“My body had been through enough, and I was scared of becoming pregnant again and wanted to heal up first. But Amit was forcing me to get pregnant again and said females’ body is meant for making babies only.
“In March 2020, Amit took me to India against my will as my last trip there had left me in complete and utter fear and dread. I immediately contacted Cambridge Women’s Aid via email. They asked me to seek help but I was really pressed for time. Amit had also promised that things would be different and that nothing bad would happen to me there, but a few days after arriving he and his family started their demands for more of money and they again started treating me like a servant yet again, only this time, even the food was restricted.
“Then on 14 April 2020, they threw me out of the house. My uncle lives just 5 minutes away and I walked to his house, where I was given some food by my aunt. I reported these incidents to Cambridge Women’s Aid by emails from India. I believed that was the worst day of my life. I never imagined it would ever happen with me.
“I stayed at my uncle and aunt’s for 12 days. Yet again because ‘our culture’, my uncle and other family members decided to take me to my husband’s parent’s home, to try to ‘fix’ things between us. When I returned, I was treated even worse.
“Amit and his family wanted me to stay in India as house help for his family, while he would return to the UK. I wanted to return to the UK, where I felt I would be safer and thought I might have less abusive life. My husband had told me could easily have me killed and in India all it would cost him 500 rupees. This is all that my life is worth.
“I did everything I could to try to please my husband and his family. If my husband threw food at me because he did not like it, I accepted it and tried to make it better. I did all of the work they asked me to do without question and obeyed every command I was given.
“We have photographs of me with my husband during this time, and throughout our marriage, where I am smiling, but the truth is that I was scared and anxious and hiding my feelings behind a smile. Amit started intentionally taking these types of pictures after being arrested in February 2018 to show that he was a nice guy. I finally convinced my husband to let me return to the UK and in June 2020 I travelled back to the UK.
“I thought that away from Amit’s family, we might stand a chance of being happy, but they encouraged him to treat me badly. Then on 31 August 2020, Amit became very violent and I had no choice but to approach the police to complain about the violence. Amit was arrested and the police began an investigation into my complaint.
“On the same day Amit’s family found out about his arrest, they became very aggressive and they went to my grandfather’s house again and created a huge argument. His brother told my family they would not keep me in their house, and even made threats to kill me and my siblings and my parents.
“The day after his arrest, Amit contacted the estate agent in charge of our home in Cambridge to end the tenancy and issue an eviction notice to me. A few days later one of his friends and his wife came to see me claiming that they wanted to ‘help me and my husband’ to reconcile. They claimed that Amit had said marriage was a ‘sacred institution’ and that he didn’t want to break the marriage.
“The friends pleaded with me to withdraw the case and claimed that Amit had promised to continue with a happy married life if I drop the charges. Amit’s family were not so subtle with his brother Atul threatening me that unless the case was withdrawn it would be the end of my father’s and siblings life and careers.
“After weeks, I caved in – yet again – to the pressure and dropped the allegations for what I thought was for the ‘sake of my marriage’. After dropping the allegations, I was still fearful for my life as he had threatened me in the past. So I informed Cambridge Women’s Aid. He didn’t come back for two days which made me more worried for mine and my parent’s life. I contacted the friend said that I want to go ahead with my case because I feel scared and there was no change in Amit. I had to move out of the property because of notices provided by him and unpaid bills.
“I was very scared and restarted the case and gave the evidences to the police. But it was to no avail. The fact that I had withdrawn the case, the police said, was ‘incriminating’. When I provided them with audio recordings as evidence they didn’t even both investigating or getting them translating or transcribed. The case was closed without any further action.
“I had become utterly helpless and tired and sick in the UK. I tried contacting Amit but to no avail. I even tried to contact his mother again to no avail.
“I had reached the end of my tether and on 31 March 2021 I returned home to India. On 4 April 2021 my father and my grandfather took me to Amit’s parent’s home as it is my matrimony home here. His mother didn’t allow me into the house unless Rs 5 million and the luxury car was forthcoming. She also said Amit has also mentioned that he will remarry in England and we will not take me back.
“It was at this point that I contacted the High Commission of India in London and through them I got in touch with Indian Ladies in UK. Its founder Poonam Joshi told me to register a complaint with the police in Kashipur. When they arrived to arrest him, he was forced to hide but eventually gave himself up.
“Days later he reported to the police station where he was asked to surrender his passport. Instead, he insisted that he would provide a written ‘undertaking’ that he would cooperate and that there was no reason to retain his travel documents. The police agreed and soon after, Amit fled back to the UK.
“Society, family and every institution that was meant to nurture and protect me had all, ultimately, failed me”.
It is a measure of how far Ms Gaur had been domineered and suppressed and controlled that it required every ounce of effort on my part to convince her to finally take control of her life and take some action. It also a testament to her courage and bravery that she has chosen to tell her story publicly, rather than remain anonymous, thereby encouraging and providing strength to others like her suffering from abuse.
Indian Ladies in UK as an organization helps dozens of of women on a monthly basis. Some cases however, require a special dispensation by helping them to take their stories public in turn, helping to lift up and empowering them to come forward with their own stories. ILUK has worked closely with Tanvi, going the extra mile, to visit even the town in Uttar Pradesh where Tiwari hails from, as well as visiting with Tanvi. We have covered the story extensively, including having detailed discussions and investigations with lawyers, law enforcements officials and campaigners in India.
But perhaps the most important aspect was reaching out and talking to Tanvi’s immediate family. When we first visited Tanvi in India in June, we found her in an extremely distressed state. She was having panic attacks, suffering from anxiety, refused to be seen outside – much of it due to the fact that society would cast a skewed eye at her because her marriage had broken down. Ultimately, in the eyes of the patriarchy around her it would be all “her fault”; she would be the reason for the collapse of the relationship. All this, rather than focussing on helping her rebuild her battered and bruised body and psyche – the life of a smart, vibrant, academically gifted young woman.
This is the reality of life in India. It is a reality that millions of women are fighting day in, day out and we hope to play our role in that fight.
Like many a shameful man who has fled back to the UK escaping justice in India, Amit TIwari continues to get on with his life, having inflicted the most horrendous physical, emotional and mental abuse on Ms Gaur.
When I first got in touch with Amit Tiwari, perhaps emboldened, he threatened to “take action” against us if we made enquiries or make the matter public in any way.
In fact, we were even contacted by Cambridge Constabulary – an officer Sarah Murtagh – asking us to “reconsider” our inquiries.
Despite repeated requests, he has refused to respond to the claims against him or even so much as a comment.
Meanwhile, his brother’s mother-in law has made it clear to Ms Gaur’s family that Amit Tiwari, a British Citizen, has no intention of returning to India to face justice.
Thankfully, at least, Tanvi has begun to rebuild her life and is safe from abuse.