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Sukhwant Kaur’s family elated after call from external affairs ministry

cities Updated: May 30, 2017 16:30 IST

Jalandhar: “It is a moment of immense happiness for me,” said Kulwant Singh, 60, looking relieved after receiving a call from the external affairs ministry on Tuesday morning, informing him about the return of his wife, Sukhwant Kaur, who was sold and tortured in Saudi Arabia for five months.

“I had lost all hope of seeing her again in this life,” said Singh, who earns Rs 250 a day by working as a labourer at a construction site. “I thank the Almighty,” he said.

Sukhwant, 55, returns on Wednesday, a fortnight after Hindustan Times highlighted her plight.

Union external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted on Tuesday morning that Sukhwant, a resident of Ajtani village in Nurmahal, was returning from Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

In January, Sukhwant left for Saudi Arabia on a three-month visa procured by a Delhi-based agent.

“Sukhwant was in trouble. She wanted to return but her passport was with the travel agent, who has disappeared now,” Kulwant Singh said.

“On May 7, my wife called me up from a hospital in Ha’il City of Saudi Arabia. She said the travel agent had sold her to a local resident and she was forced to work as a slave in his house and was being treated badly and even tortured,” he said.

Jagdish Singh, a former sarpanch of Ajtani village, said that he received a call from the ministry at 11.14 am on Tuesday informing him that Sukhwant was coming to Mumbai in a flight from Saudi Arabia at 4.15am on Wednesday.

Kulwant Singh talked to Vijay P Dwivedi, additional personal secretary to Swaraj, and requested him to arrange a flight ticket for Sukhwant’s arrival in Amritsar as he had no money to go to Mumbai.

The couple’s eldest daughter and a mother of two, Ranjeet Kaur, who had been running from pillar to post to get her mother back burst into tears of happiness after hearing the news that she will be able to see her mother on Wednesday.

“I was not able to meet my mother before she left for Saudi Arabia but I will be there tomorrow to welcome her back,” Ranjeet Kaur said.

Strap: HT IMPACT Report of Jalandhar woman being tortured in Saudi Arabia spurs MEA to act; she returns home tomorrow

Captions:

Sukhwant Kaur’s husband Kulwant Singh (centre) with former sarpanch of Ajtani village (in pink turban) Jagdish Singh, and other villagers Nishaan Singh, Karam Singh and Sheetal Singh in Jalandhar on Tuesday. Pardeep Pandit/HT

Pic 2: Sukhwant Kaur file pic