Indian maid attacked in Saudi; MEA lodges protest

RSTV Bureau

Sushma_UN2A 55-year-old Indian woman, working in Saudi Arab as a domestic help, suffered an attack by her Saudi employer who allegedly chopped-off her hand. According to the family of the victim Kashturi Munirathinam, a resident of Vellore district in Tamil Nadu, the attack occurred on the intervening night of September 29-30. The incident has now evoked a strong condemnation from the Indian government with Union External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj terming the incident as “unacceptable”.

“We are very much disturbed over the brutal manner in which Indian lady has been treated in Saudi Arabia,” Swaraj said on Friday adding “This is unacceptable. We have taken this up with Saudi authorities.”

The India government had now demanded that a case of attempted murder be lodged against the culprit, in this case her employer.

“Our Embassy in Riyadh has taken up the matter with the Saudi Foreign Office and asked for strict action in the matter and severe punishment for the sponsor. We have also sought an independent probe in the incident and urged that a case of attempted murder be lodged against the sponsor so that he is punished, if found guilty as per law,” the Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry said.

Ms Munirathinam is currently being looked after in a Saudi hospital.

“India also proposes to take up this issue in the JWG on Labour Matters with Saudi Arabia which will be held in New Delhi on October 12-13 and is the established institutional mechanism for such matters,” the Spokesperson further said.

Meanwhile, the family of the victim has alleged that her right hand was chopped off by her employer when she tried to escape harassment and torture. Ms Munirathinam had gone to Saudi Arabia to work as a domestic help three months ago.

“When she tried to escape harassment and torture, her right hand was chopped off by the woman employer. She fell down and sustained serious spinal injuries,” S Vijayakumari, victim’s sister told the press in Chennai further alleging that Kashturi’s employer was “angered after she had apprised local officials about the harassment she was facing there.”

Urging to bring Kashturi Munirathinam back from Saudi Arabia, her family sent representations to the state and central governments. DMK MP and former Union minister Kanimozhi has also sent a letter to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj seeking her help in this regard.

(With inputs from the PTI)