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 Post subject: Lankan maid seeks refuge in consulate
 Post Posted: Sun Nov 20, 2005 2:22 am 
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Lankan maid seeks refuge in consulate

By Meraj Rizvi
7 January 2005


DUBAI — Her Gulf dream turned into a nightmare, Parmeshwari, a Sri Lankan housemaid, has sought refuge in her country’s consulate here with a mind and body bruised from months of alleged torture.


She succeeded in fleeing from her employer in Ras Al Khaimah on Wednesday morning in her second attempt after she had ended up in a locked room back in her employer’s house — and the first when she sought refuge at a police station.

The 27-year-old, who had acid burns on both her hands and feet and a laceration on her forehead, allegedly inflicted by her employer’s family — Egyptian expatriates — was hardly able to speak to reporters.

“The burns on my hands and feet are the outcome of their torture,” she said.

“I was given just one meal daily in the evening and made to work throughout day and night. It was a large family, with over 20 people, and the house was big with six rooms. I used to clean the house daily and help in cooking. But, it was very difficult for one person to clean the entire house daily, alongside carrying out other household chores,” Parmeshwari said.

“My employer's wife and daughter (a school teacher) would beat me up and often poured the toilet cleaning acid on my limbs as punishment for not carrying out the chores properly,” said Parmeshwari, showing her hands and feet which are swollen and have skin cracking up due to acid burns.

As the torture was becoming unbearable, she decided to run away. This time she was clear she would report the matter to the Sri Lankan mission office in Dubai. “An earlier attempt to flee home had failed since I made the mistake of going straight to a police station in Ras Al Khaimah to lodge a complaint against my employer. But, I was sent back to my employer after which they would lock me up in the house.

“It was difficult to escape during the day, but early Wednesday at 3 am, I fled the employer’s house through the kitchen window. I walked quite a bit till I found a taxi whose driver was sympathetic and agreed to take me to the Sri Lankan mission office in Dubai.”

She alleged that she was paid no salary for the last five months and, therefore, had no money to contact her family back in Sri Lanka.

“I have two sisters and I have to support them,” said Parmeshwari, who hails from Bandula, a village in Central Sri Lanka.

“I have mortgaged all my jewellery to pay the agents in Sri Lanka for this job. And now, I cannot afford to return without any money,” she said, hoping the consulate will help recover her outstanding dues.

The housemaid was administered medical treatment at the Iranian hospital where she was admitted. “But she needs to undergo several tests and would need to take an X-ray of her head. She would also need to see an ENT specialist, after which the hospital will give us a full medical report,” a consulate official said.

He said her case was registered with the police at the hospital who will further investigate the issue. Besides, the housemaid will be taken before the police and immigration officials in Ras Al Khaimah on Saturday for further investigation.


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