VELLORE:Kasturi Munirathnam, the worker whose hand was chopped off by her Saudi Arabian employer returned safely to India and landed in Chennai airport on Saturday.
“Ms Kasturi Munirathnam arrived in Chennai and was reunited with her family today morning,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) tweeted. The domestic worker who had attracted international attention after her employer in Saudi Arabia chopped off her right arm.
Upon landing in Chennai airport, she was, however, not allowed to meet the media or her family members which resulted in a verbal brawl between the family members and the police. Kasturi was taken to the Rajiv Gandhi General Hospital in Chennai for doctors to monitor her health.
Fifty-six-year-old Kasturi Muniratnam, a resident of Moongil Eri in Vinnampalli post, Vellore district, had gone to Saudi Arabia on July 28 to work as a domestic help on a monthly salary of `23,000 to pay off mounting debt incurred by her family through a local travel agent, Sheriff from Tiruvannamalai, recalled her elder sister Malliga.
While police officials in Saudi Arabia maintained that Kasturi lost her hand injuring herself while attempting to flee, sources from the hospital told Express that the medical report from the Kingdom Hospital where she was undergoing treatment confirmed that her arm was amputated because it was cut, and not because of any fractures as was claimed.
Sources added that in addition, she suffered from a femur fracture and a dislocated spinal cord. Speaking to Express from Saudi Arabia, Rasheeth Khan, who took care of her, detailed how she was misdirected by local drivers when she reached Saudi Arabia without proper contract papers.
It was only after Saudi police personnel spotted her in Buraidah - about 450 km from Riyadh - desolate without food or help that the employer was contacted.
After this, she was allegedly ill-treated by the employer for more than two months, finally culminating in her arm being chopped off. Kasturi’s elder daughter, M Vanaja, said that when her mother was working in Saudi Arabia her employer had not allowed her to speak more than two sentences over the phone.
Two days before Bakrid, Vanaja said, her mother had told her daughter she was forced to jog along with her employer who physically harassed her when she was unable to keep up with him. Vanaja said she was allegedly kicked by him for not massaging his legs properly. A day before the incident, Kasturi had called her son Muthu to inform him 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 forcing her to eat stale food.
Kasturi is the mother of three daughters and a son. Her husband who worked in local beedi making unit became physically weak and her son met with an accident while working at a construction site leaving her as the sole breadwinner in the family. Kasturi’s 75-year-old mother Kannamma, who broke down after seeing her daughter returning with a permanent disability, said her only wish was that such inhuman acts should not be repeated.