•X-rays reveal possible nerve damage in woman who returned from Saudi Arabia
By Ranee Mohamed
Perumal Raja Kumari (35) a mother of three who arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport on November 2 was admitted to the National Hospital in Colombo after she began staggering — suffering from blackouts, bruises, dizziness and pain in the ears.
“My sister arrived at the airport carrying a bag given by an airline. She had in her possession only her passport, her identity card and the mobile phone which she took from Sri Lanka ,” said her brother P. Subramaniam, speaking to The Sunday Leader.
“She could speak to us intelligibly only after she was given immediate medication and a saline drip . X-rays have also been taken and we are awaiting results of investigations to find out whether there has been any damage to her nerves,” said Subramaniam.
A resident of 65/11, Balika Road , Pahala Kosgama, Kosgama, Raja Kumari, speaking to The Sunday Leader from Ward No. 37 of the National Hospital said that she went to Saudi Arabia on April 28, 2010. ‘I had to go to Saudi Arabia because of my mother aged 65 and my father aged 75. I have three children, one of my sons is half-blind. My parents and my children depend on me for support. My husband abandoned me 13 years ago,” she said.
“I worked very hard in the home I was taken to. The Madam and Sir had seven offspring. Of them four sons were married. I had to work in their houses too. I had to wake up at 4.30 a.m. and clean the outside of the home I was assigned to work in – wash the bathrooms outside and then the garden. Then I had to clean the inside of the house and wash the bathrooms inside the house. When the Madam wakes up at 10.30 a.m.
I had to clean the bedrooms. Then I had to wipe each item in the refrigerator and wipe every object in the kitchen. Then I had to help to make the breakfast. The fried eggs and cream cheese and milk were never given to me during my six month stay. I was given one roti or half a roti and a tea for the morning. Lunch was at 6 p.m. and consisted of boiled rice on which a drizzle of tomato purée was poured over. There was never any fish, meat or vegetables,” said Raja Kumari.
Raja Kumari said that dinner was a shaky affair. “Sometimes, they would give me a few bits of macaroni in which there were a few onions and a piece of tomato. But at most times they would ‘forget’ to give me dinner. Yet I worked very hard, not only in the parental household but in the homes of the offspring too. If I cleaned well, Madam would yell at me that I was having eyes for the master and that was why I was cleaning well. If I did not clean thoroughly, she would yell at me for not cleaning well. It was a case of screaming at me day and night. Sometimes she would tell her sons that I had eyes for the master and they would all yell at me and threaten me with bodily harm,” cried Raja Kumari.
“But I suffered all this because of my children. Then for five months they did not pay me. I was begging for my salary. My children and my parents in Sri Lanka were undergoing severe hardship for want of money. I begged my Sir and Madam for my salary, but they did not pay me. Instead Madam would scream at me for asking for my salary. They did not give me dinner for 10 nights. They did not give me a paracetamol for an ailment. Then on October 27 at 10. a.m I packed my bags and walked out of the house while Madam was talking on the telephone.
“I walked to the police station which was in the neighbourhood. At 1.00 p.m one of the sons came to the police station. He spoke to me kindly and asked why I left. I told him about my problems and he said that he will bring me my salary. At 10 p.m. I was sent to the Sri Lankan Embassy. The older son came there and told me that three months salary was being deducted for the making of my documents and Saudi Riyal 750 was required to buy a ticket. He gave me a balance of SR 650. He said that he will arrive on November 2 to take me to the airport,” recalled Raja Kumari.
“He arrived at the Sri Lankan Embassy at about 7.30 p.m. to take me to the airport. The moment I got into the vehicle, there was an immediate locking sound from all the doors. He did not take me to the airport, but took me to the house. The vehicle stopped near the door of the house and I tried to get off and run away. But three of the sons in the house ran behind me and pulled me into the house. Then they locked all doors, grabbed my bags. They took back the money that they gave me and began to assault me. Many of the blows were directed above my neck. One of the shots near my ear made blood spurt out. Yet the hitting continued. There was no pause, they were merciless,” alleged Raja Kumari.
“I hugged the Madam, pleaded with her to make them stop. But she asked them to carry on. The men pulled clumps of hair out of my head. Look at my forehead,” alleged Raja Kumari, showing portions of bare areas in her head. “ One of the kicks from he men sent me flying from one corner to another. They tore my handbag, photographs of my children and my clothes,” she cried.
“Then Madam asked me to remove my clothes and checked my undergarments to see whether I had stolen anything. The men were looking on,” said Raja Kumari.
Raja Kumari said however that she had not experienced any sexual abuse in the house during her stay, but said that there had been times when the Sir had time and again stuck his tongue out at her. “I did not know when and how I got to the airport. I did not have the money that they gave with me. I did not have any money with me. My hair was disheveled. I was holding my ID card and passport and ticket. I got a bag from the airline. There were several housemaids like me at the airport,” said Raja Kumari.
Raja Kumari has made a complaint to the Foreign Employment Bureau and to the Police.