Protest lodged after maid's hand 'chopped off by boss'

NEW DELHI • India said it lodged a protest with the authorities in Riyadh after a maid from Tamil Nadu allegedly had her hand chopped off by her Saudi boss for complaining about her work conditions.

India's foreign minister yesterday deplored the "brutal" attack on 55-year-old Kasthuri Munirathinam, now being treated at a hospital in Riyadh. Just weeks before, a Saudi diplomat based in New Delhi fled the country accused of rape.

"We are very much disturbed over the brutal manner in which this Indian lady has been treated in Saudi Arabia," Mr Sushma Swaraj said on Twitter. "This is unacceptable."

A foreign ministry spokesman confirmed Indian diplomats in Riyadh had lodged a formal complaint at the Saudi foreign ministry.

According to Ms Munirathinam's family, she was abused after becoming a domestic worker in Saudi Arabia three months ago.

"When she tried to escape harassment and torture, her right hand was chopped off by the employer," her sister S. Vijayakumari told the Press Trust of India news agency.

Foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said she was recuperating in hospital, and efforts were being made to bring her home. "She will get all possible legal and other help from the embassy," he said.

Hundreds of thousands of Indian migrants work in households in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. Complaints about poor treatment by their employers often make headlines back home.

A video showing a male Indian worker being beaten by his Saudi employer went viral last month, sparking an outcry on social media.

There was also much public anger last month when the first secretary at the Saudi embassy left India under diplomatic immunity after being accused of holding captive and raping two Nepalese maids in his home.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2015, with the headline 'Protest lodged after maid's hand 'chopped off by boss''. Print Edition | Subscribe