Indian maid's arm cut off by 'Saudi employer', Swaraj terms act unacceptable

Updated October 09, 2015

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"Kashturi's employer was angry after she told local officials about the harassment she was facing there, she was not even provided food," S. Vijayakumari, sister of Ms. Munirathinam, was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. — Ap/File
"Kashturi's employer was angry after she told local officials about the harassment she was facing there, she was not even provided food," S. Vijayakumari, sister of Ms. Munirathinam, was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. — Ap/File

CHENNAI: Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday said the government has recorded a protest with Saudi authorities after an Indian woman's right arm was chopped off allegedly by her employer in Saudi Arabia last Tuesday.

Kashturi Munirathinam, 58, claimed her arm was chopped off by her employer after she had complained to local authorities about being harassed and tortured, NDTV reported.

Kashturi had gone to Saudi Arabia to work as domestic help three months ago. Her family in Tamil Nadu says she was being tortured and starved by her employer.

"This is unacceptable," said Swaraj. "We have taken this up with Saudi authorities."

Tweet by Sushma Swaraj

"We are very much disturbed over the brutal manner in which Indian lady has been treated in Saudi Arabia," Swaraj said.

Tweet by Sushma Swaraj

The Foreign Ministry said the Indian embassy in Riyadh had taken up the case with the Saudi Foreign Office and asked for attempted murder charges against Kashturi's employer.

Tweet by Sushma Swaraj

Kashturi's relatives in Tamil Nadu's Vellore district claim they learnt about the incident "through agents who sent her to Saudi Arabia", and said they also had a mobile phone video of her.

S. Vijayakumari, Kashturi's sister, said that her sister had gone to Saudi Arabia to help pay off her family's debts and she had been promised a monthly salary of around 180 dollars.

“But she was not paid, she was barely given enough to eat and not even allowed to speak to her family ... Now she only wants to come home,“ Vijayakumari said.

"Kashturi's employer was angry after she told local officials about the harassment she was facing there," Vijayakumari was quoted by the Press Trust of India.

"When she tried to escape the harassment and torture, her right hand was decapitated by the woman employer. She fell and suffered serious spinal injuries," she said.

Vijayakumari has appealed to the Indian government to bring her sister back from Riyadh, where she is recovering in hospital, and help with her treatment.

Thousands of women from India travel to the Middle-east to work as domestic help and in search of better pay.

Read: Saudi diplomat accused of rape withdrawn from India

In September, a Saudi embassy official in New Delhi was accused of repeatedly raping, assaulting and abusing two Nepali maids at his home.

The women told police they were starved and were held hostage for several months after leaving Nepal to work for the diplomat. The diplomat, who is protected by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, was then withdrawn from India.

The Saudi embassy had denied the allegations.