Saudi employer denies chopping off Indian woman’s hand

Riyadh: The Saudi Arabian employer of an Indian domestic help whose hand was “chopped off” has said the woman had to get her hand amputated in hospital after she damaged it badly while jumping from the third floor of their house in Riyadh.

Arab News newspaper quoted the First Secretary (Community Welfare) of the Indian Embassy Anil Nautiyal as saying on Friday that the Indian mission has demanded a full-scale inquiry into the incident.

The Saudi sponsor told Arab News that the right hand of Kasturi Munirathinam, 55, was amputated as a result of her failed attempt to flee by jumping from a window.

He said she was recruited two months ago to serve his mother who is 70 and lives alone in an apartment in Riyadh.

“On Thursday, the housemaid went to her room while my mother was performing Asr prayer and locked herself inside.

“She knotted together bed sheets and some of her clothes and dangled the rope out of the window so that she could jump from the third floor.

“An expat worker on the street saw her trying to jump, and when she fell she landed on two electricity boxes, which caused severe damage to her hand.

“The worker then informed the building guard and my mother informed police and the Red Crescent about the incident.

“The rescuers arrived on the scene and transferred the housemaid to the hospital where she underwent amputation surgery to her right hand,” he told the newspaper.

“Police investigated the accident and checked all the evidence at the site and concluded that the woman tried to jump from the window and fell from the third floor,” he said.

Nautiyal told Arab News: “We took up the issue with the government of Saudi Arabia on Wednesday through diplomatic channels requesting them to record Kasturi’s statement without delay. We have also requested the government here for an independent probe.”

The doctors who performed surgery on Kasturi informed embassy officials that she was out of danger and would soon be able to travel.

India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj reacted on Twitter: “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.”

According to Kasturi’s sister S. Vijayakumari, the maid was forced to take up the job abroad as the family was facing financial problems after the marriage of her three daughters.

“When she tried to escape the harassment and torture, her right arm was chopped off by the woman employer. Now my sister can’t even sit and do simple things on her own, as her spinal cord has also been injured,” Vijayakumari claimed in a report.