External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has ordered the MEA to enquire into the condition of the domestic worker whose hand was chopped off by her Saudi employers as punishment for trying to escape their brutal employment. In tweets on Friday, the EAM called the incident “unacceptable”.
Calling the chopping of the domestic worker’s hand by her Saudi employers “a brutal incident that is deeply disturbing” the government said it would pursue the matter with Saudi Foreign Ministry in Riyadh. According to a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, the Embassy in Riyadh has asked for “severe punishment” for the employer. Ms. Kasthuri Munirathinam. “Mission officials have met the Chief as well as the Investigating Officer of the Police Station and have requested that Mrs. Munirathinam’s statement be recorded without further delay, an independent probe be undertaken on the incident and a case of attempted murder lodged against the sponsor. The sponsor should be also directed to pay for her on-going treatment,” the MEA spokesperson said.
The Hindu had reported on Wednesday that the family members of Kasturi have petitioned to the Vellore Collector R. Nanthagopal to take urgent steps to rescue her.
This is the second such high profile case of abuse of employees that has led to a strain in Saudi-Indian ties. Last month the MEA summoned the Saudi Ambassador and made him withdraw the first secretary of the Saudi, when it was revealed he had repeatedly raped and brutally abused two Nepali domestic workers held captive in his home in Gurgaon. The case had led to huge uproar, and the government had faced street protests as well as appeals from the Nepali government over the issue.
In its statement about Ms. Munirathinam’s condition in hospital, whose family in Vellore are expected to appeal to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha today, the MEA said, “The Ministry in Delhi and our Mission in Riyadh are monitoring the status of Mrs. Munirathinam closely and are in touch with her family to extend all necessary support to overcome this difficult phase. At the same time we continue to pursue the matter at all levels with Saudi officials to ensure speedy justice for her”.