Government to seek justice for Saudi victim
Vikas Swarup declared on behalf of the ministry of external affairs that the government would seek justice for Ms Kasturi Munirathinam whose hand was chopped off in Saudi Arabia. He said that "This incident is deeply disturbing. The victim is currently stable,". He further said that the matter would be taken up to the Saudi authorities and an explanation sought.
There are approximately 2.4 million enslaved domestic workers from countries like Philippines, India, Sri Lanka and Nepal working in private households in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and other Gulf countries. The workers are employed under the regional kafala system i.e. the assent of the "sponsor" family is needed before leaving employment. According to Saudi law, domestic help cannot escape an 'abusive employer'.
An Indian maid hailing from Tamil Nadu's Mungileri village was subjected to heinous violence in Saudi Arabia. Her hand was severed by a Saudi woman who had employed the 56-year-old maid. The Saudi woman cut the maid's hand off after the latter had put in a complaint that her owner's family ill-treated her with the Saudi officials.
Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted saying, "Chopping of hand of Indian lady - We are very much disturbed over the brutal manner in which Indian lady has been treated in Saudi Arabia."
On 29 September 2015, Saudi officials had gone to the house where Kasthuri Munirathnam worked to make periodical enquires about "the well-being of house maids". Kasthuri had brought to the notice of the authorities that "her employers were ill-treating her," and that she was over-burdened with work. This complaint triggered the 'savage' attack on Kasthuri.
The Saudi authorities arrested the woman responsible for committing the crime while taking Kasthuri to the hospital. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs asked the Saudi government to carry out an independent probe in the episode and pushed that a case of "attempted murder" be fixed against the sponsor who should be punished as well if guilty.