I am a French teacher residing in Tamil Nadu. I have been for some weeks in a relationship with a foreign woman and she came to spend the night in my appartment a few times.
Some neighboors have called the police about that and though there was nothing illegal about it, the police is trying to use this as a way to extort money from me and my landlord, a 75 year old Indian man with whom I have always had an excellent relationship for nearly 2 years I've been here.
This is what happened:
- Some unidentified neighbor complained to the police that some immoral activities were happening in my landlord's house, it seems they also told the police that I was disturbing the street's peace by listening to music at night (no one ever complained about this in 2 years even when I threw parties, so this is clearly an excuse).
- The police came when I was not here, accused my landlord to "run a brothel" (!) and reproached him that he had not declared renting his flat to a foreigner at the police station.
- Me and the landlord agreed that the GF was not to sleep here anymore (I can go at her place instead, where neighboors don't cause trouble) and she didn't come back, but the police did.
- Yesterday evening the police came back and harrassed the landlord. They wanted to search my flat but thanks God I was at the GF's place and the landlord doesn't have my key. They told him that they could arrest me and the GF for immoral activities and that they would if they'd find her here. They also told him to register me (they handed him the form). They also told him they'd patrol the street and that if they'd hear any music from my window, or even saw lights (!) after midnight, they'd arrest me. Then they waited for me for one hour in front of the gate, in their car, before leaving.
Today my landlord went to see a lawyer, who told him that:
- They just wanted to extort money from either him or me.
- They have no legal ground of course to complain about any moral issues (nor noise I can assure you) but they will try nevertheless to intimidate us until they get what they want.
- That declaring tenents to the police station, while compulsary in some states such as Maharashtra, was not compulsory in Tamil Nadu, but the lawyer advised that we do it anyway because if we did they'd have no ground to harrass us anymore. So I will fill the form and give it to the landlord tomorrow in case they come back.
The landlord also learned from neighbors that the police has harrassed a group of young Indian flatmates in the opposite house, most likely for noise allegations, and that the flatmates have decided to vacate the appartment in order to have peace.
I've also checked online and it seems without a warrant or serious suspiscions (such as a fugitive hiding in my house) the police is not allowed to inspect the premise, but I'm now afraid that they might try anyway and possibly arrest me if I refuse, or even worse, force themselves inside and plant drugs in the place to extort more money from me (I've heard stories like that).
I'm scared to death. I have never had any problems with the police in India but I know they can do whatever they want no matter what the law says. This is not my country, in Europe I'd know what my rights are but here I feel powerless, rights or not. My landlord and I have agreed to stand together against them but who knows what they can do. He's a respected man, a brahmin and a retired engineer who always lived by the law, but he told me he's afraid of them, too.
I don't want to have to pay money to them for being left alone because for one thing it is wrong, and also I don't have that much money anyway (I'm on a very low salary for an expat), + if I pay once they may come back for more on a regular basis.
I was to have some guests next Saturday but i've decided to cancel the party out of fear they might come and accuse us of making noise. I also won't have my GF come even at day (!) for the moment because I'm afraid they may harrass her as well. I also have a French female friend visiting me next month and we agreed that it's best if we all sleep at my GF's for the few days we'll be here (after that we'll be travelling 'round). Of course I could just move to another place and maybe I will eventually because not being able to stay awake at night or welcoming any guest I wish is intolerable, but finding a place like this for what I pay is extremely hard in Chennai, i've been very lucky to find this appartment (my foreign friends either live in dumps or pay rents I cannot afford).
So I wanted to ask for advices: what to tell the police and how to behave if:
- They want to inspect my appartment without a warrant - and they won't have one.
- They ask for money.
- They threaten to arrest me or to beat me up.
- They accuse me of disturbing the neighboorhood just because I'm awake late at night and they see light or hear some music even if it's not so loud.
Many thanks for your advices, please somebody tell me what to do! As I said I'm really freaking out here!