The Indian government is calling on the authorities in Saudi Arabia to file attempted murder charges.
Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj took to Twitter on Friday to express outrage after a Saudi Arabian woman was accused of chopping off the arm of an Indian housemaid who was working for her in Riyadh.
The family of Kasthuri Munirathinam, 58, said she told them her employer chopped off her right arm after she complained to local officials about harassment and torture.
“Kashturi’s employer was angry after she told local officials about the harassment she was facing there, she was not even provided food,” said S Vijayakumari, a sister of Munirathinam.
“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 told the BBC.
Munirathinam is currently undergoing treatment at a hospital in Riyadh.
The Indian Foreign Ministry said its embassy in Riyadh had taken up the case with the Saudi Foreign Office. It’s urging Saudi officials to file charges of attempted murder.
Saudi Arabia hosts 9 million foreign workers who are subjected to notoriously repressive conditions in the U.S.-backed kingdom, which has a total population of 28 million.
Despite repeated promises, Saudi Arabia has failed to implement labor reforms that could eventually end the controversial “kafala” system that ties migrant workers to a sponsoring employer. Under the system, foreigners cannot work in the Gulf unless they are sponsored by an employer. They cannot move on to another job or leave the country without their sponsors’ approval.