Jilted lawyer bride takes up cudgels against ex-husband

Kulsum Mustafa 1

Most of the NRI brides, who become victims of the fraudulent NRI marriages, hail from Punjab and Kerala. Many victims belong to other states too. Foreign laws, lack of any financial or emotional support in the foreign lands make these overseas brides accept their fate and live lives of misery and torture. This NRI bride from Uttar Pradesh, however, refused to take things lying down and through legal procedure is trying to get even with the man and his family who ruined her life completely.

Eight years back, when Lucknow girl, Zuby Zaidi acquired her law degree, little did she know that the first legal case she would be handling would be her own. An NRI jilted bride, Zuby Zaidi has been fighting for justice for the last four years against the NRI fraudulent marriage she became a victim of.

Married in April 10, 2014, to Syed Ali Murtaza, an NRI, it was just two months later on June 18, 2014, that she received her divorce letter through mail. While Murtaza holds a US citizenship, his parents highly placed and influential have been staying in UAE for the last 45 years.

At the time of marriage Zuby was 26 and her groom 40. Highly educated, full of zeal she was at the peak of her career, working as deputy director in an educational institute when this marriage proposal came. Her father was a senior government official and her mother a writer. Her three elder sisters were all happily married, It was her maternal uncle who was the match maker. Murtaza, was his wife’s cousin and he presented Murtaza as the eligible bachelor and personally endorsed this. Zuby’s family was hoodwink .

But Zuby confesses that even at that time she had an uncanny feeling that all was not well. As she sits in her room adorned with her degrees and trophies of achievement- for her extracurricular activities, this poetess, table tennis player, debater seems lost and forlorn.
“My sixth sense warned me. But I had no facts to substantiate my feelings. The fact that the groom was nearly 15 years older was not considered a good enough reason to reject him by my family” said Zuby regretting that she did not listen to her inner voice. Seems it got lost in the hustle bustle and excitement of settling down in magical Dubai. She too got carried away and joined the family in making it a fairytale wedding which she claimed cost her 30 lakhs.

A week after the marriage her husband and in laws went back to Dubai. Zuby got busy in getting her legal documents made. It was month later that Murtaza returned and they both flew back together to UAE to what she thought would be her permanent abode.

It was here that she got her first big jolt. Murtaza was bald and had so far been faking with a wig. But the biggest jolt came when she received a call from the US from Rinnie. She not only claimed to be his legally wedded first wife but they also had a child. The confrontation with Murtaza revealed that Rinnie was right. What followed was a saga of torture and blackmail. An infuriated Murtaza took away her passport and visa and threatened her with dire consequences if she revealed anything to her people back home. She was ill- treated, made to do menial tasks like cleaning the bathrooms.

She was beaten up, locked up without food for three days, was asked to get 50 lakhs as dowry so that Murtaza could start his crawfish farming in the US.

“He even threatened to get my parents eliminated,” said Zuby, trying hard to hold back tears. One day she managed to escape and the building watchman helped her to call up her parents. They were appalled, and immediately sent a cousin who lived in Dubai to get her back to Lucknow. But Murtaza and her in-laws apologised in front of the cousin and assured her this would never happen again.

“He convinced her that he would mend their ways and that he will take good care of me,” said Zuby adding that even her in-laws apologised to me for what they did to me.

Back home the news had shattered Zuby’s parents and they both became bed-ridden. Murtaza convinced me to accompany him to India to see them. On this pretext he brought me to India on June 18, 2014, but left the next day without informing us. Day after he left I received my divorce papers.

“It was a shattering experience but after a few days I took control of myself and the first thing I did was to lodge an FIR against him and my in laws at the police station under Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). I even sent all details to the police station in the US,” she said.

Murtaza has not appeared even once at the court. He is protected by foreign laws. Under normal circumstances, maintenance orders passed in Indian courts have little impact as they can’t be served to accused living abroad.

“It has been four years and even after the orders of the court by hon’ble judge Indra Prakash Sir, ACJM CBI who instructed to arrest the culprits immediately and to cancel/hold their visa and passport by the concerning authorities as they are absconders and not appearing in front of the court for legal proceedings. Non-bailable warrant was issued against husband father , mother, sister and brother-in-law,” she said adding that her sister & brother in law got bail from court & misusing that are threatening her.

Life for Zuby and her parents will never be the same again. Her life is centered around the court and hospitals, fighting for justice, catering to her sick parents. She is now an established lawyer and provides free legal advice to all NRI deserted brides, who are not aware of their rights, are illiterate or are too poor to fight legal battles.

Zuby has created a Facebook page for NRI jilted brides. Here the victims can contact her for advice.

She has been writing to ministries, politicians and organisations like National Women Commission, on this issue and her own efforts to procure justice for such ill-fated brides.