CHENNAI:Scared, scarred and maimed, Kasthuri Munirathinam, the middle aged woman from a village in Vellore who left for Saudi Arabia in search of better prospects for her family, finally returned to Tamil Nadu on Saturday after a horrifying stint in the Gulf country that lasted a little over three months.
The 56-year-old domestic worker had attracted international attention after her employer allegedly chopped her right arm, which was taken up by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa with the Centre, and subsequently the Ministry of External Affairs with the Saudi Government.
While police officials in the Middle East country have maintained that Kasthuri lost her hand after injuring herself while attempting to flee, sources from the hospital told Express that the medical report from the Kingdom Hospital where she was treated confirmed that her arm was amputated because it was cut, and not because of any fractures as was claimed. Sources added that there was no necessity to amputate in case of fractures.
In addition to this suffered from a femur fracture and a dislocated spinal cord, sources added. Speaking to Express from Saudi Arabia, Rasheeth Khan, who took care of her, detailed how she was misdirected by local drivers when she reached there without proper contract papers. It was only after a Saudi police personnel spotted her in Buraidah - about 450 km from Riyadh - crying without food or help, and without knowing the language, that the employer was contacted. After this, she was allegedly ill-treated by the employer for more than two months, finally culminating in the alleged arm chopping.
Kasthuri’s elder daughter, M Vanaja, said that the employeer did not allow her to speak more than two sentences over phone. Two days prior to Bakrid, she had told her daughter she was forced to jog along with the employer and physically harassed her when she was unable to stay in pace. She was kicked for not massaging the legs of her employer properly. A day before the incident, Kasthuri had called her son Muthu to inform about the complaint filed with Saudi authorities. She had told authorities there about forcing her to work more than 20 hours a day without adequate sleep and feeding her stale food.
After landing at the Chennai airport on Saturday noon, she was taken to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, where the doctors are exploring the possibilities of providing a prosthetic arm. At the airport today, the relatives were not allowed to even see her due to the tight security provided to her, resulting in a verbal brawl between them and the police.
Kasthuri’s 75-year-old mother Kannamma, who broke down after seeing her daughter who returned with a permanent disability, said her only wish was that such inhuman acts should not be repeated. Kasthuri had gone to the Gulf country to work as a maid in an attempt to bail out her family from heavy debts that was incurred as marriage loans. Her husband who worked in local beedi manufacturing unit became physically weak and her son met with an accident while working in a construction site.
After getting a job as maid for a monthly salary of Rs 23,000 through a local travel agent, Sheriff from Tiruvannamalai, Kasthuri left for Riyadh on July 28, recalled her elder sister Malliga.
July 28: Kasturi leaves for Saudi Arabia to work as a domestic help
September 28: Kasturi calls up her son. Urges him to lodge a complaint against her employer
September 29: Attempts to flee abusive employer, but caught. Right arm chopped off
October 7: Matter taken up with Saudi officials
October 9: External Affairs Minister tweets her outrage. Talks at diplomatic level opened
October 24: Jayalalithaa writes to PM, seeking intervention
November 3: Indian officials confirm Kasturi would reach India soon
November 7: Lands at Chennai airport. Taken to Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital