Hope for 42-year-old Udupi widow trapped in Saudi for 10 months

Hope for 42-year-old Udupi widow trapped in Saudi for 10 months

Jacintha, a 42-year-old mother of three teenaged children from Karkala, has been stranded in a small town in Saudi Arabia for the past 10 months.

Human Rights Protection Foundation (HRPF) president Dr Ravindranath Shanbhag told reporters on Wednesday that Jacintha was desperate for job to ensure her children’s education after she suddenly lost her husband last year. A sub-agent James in Mangaluru told her that an Indian in Qatar was looking for a housemaid to look after his children. She was promised a salary of Rs 25,000 a month.

However, after landing in the Gulf last June, the driver of the vehicle which had come to pick her up, revealed that she had come to a place called Yanbhu in Saudi Arabia, where she was required to work for over 16 hours a day. In the process, her health deteriorated. Somehow, in the first week of December, she was able to contact her children in India with the help of some Indian drivers in the town and was able to inform them of her plight. She told them that she had once even become unconscious after being hit on the head. After regaining consciousness, she found stamp pad ink on her thumb and suspected that the employer may have taken her thumb impression without her knowledge.

The young, innocent children were shocked and through elected representatives, contacted the Indian Embassy in Riyadh. They got information about HRPF and met Shanbhag.

HRPF, with the help of Indians working in the Gulf, was able to trace her and raised hopes of her early return to India. HRPF contacted the office of Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj. The Protector General of Emigrants (India) M C Luther and Consul General of Jeddah are in touch with her employer Abdullah Almutairi and also HRPF. Almutairi said he had obtained her services for two years for which he had paid the agent 24,000 Riyals (Rs 5 lakh) and will send her back only if the amount is refunded.

Efforts are also being made to trace the absconding recruiting agent from Mumbai, Shabha Khan, who is reported to have taken around Rs 5 lakh from Jacintha. A police complaint was lodged.

Shanbhag said the prime minister has taken note of Jacintha's case. “We have just received two tweets from Modi. I am now sure Jacintha will return to India safely,” he said.

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