A woman who was employed by the Saudi diplomat accused of raping two Nepalese domestic helps at his house in Gurgaon has said that she was illegally confined and given just "two rotis to eat" a day.
In an interview to HT, Neetu, who hails from Darjeeling in West Bengal, revealed how she was also ill-treated, starved and locked up like the two Nepalese women whose ordeal has been in headlines recently. She was the first to alert NGO Maiti India through her friend Anita, about the two trapped Nepalese women who later alleged rape. She told she got away only by threatening her employer’s wife with a knife.
Neetu told HT that she was hired as a cook at the diplomat’s apartment on July 28 this year, by Anwar at a promised pay of 1,000 dirhams (Rs 18,000). Anwar, a resident of Kerala, is allegedly the same man who got the two Nepalese women placed at the house. “Anwar took me to Gurgaon. He told me that if I worked hard then my salary will come on time,” Neetu said.
Initially, things were easy for her but the situation soon turned ugly. “We were given just one roti to eat in a day along with some black tea. The family used to eat pre-cooked food and hardly asked me to prepare rice for them,” said Neetu.
She added that she was promised one day off a week, which was never given. In fact, she was piled with extra work like cleaning, dusting and washing clothes.
“The other two girls and I were not allowed to talk and were made to sleep in different rooms. The family had dinner twice, at 8pm once and then again at 2am. So, we were usually up till 4am washing the utensils and cleaning the living room and kitchen. The employer’s wife then woke us up at 6am,” she said.
All the three domestic helps were eager to escape from the house and the diplomat had sensed that, Neetu claimed. Hence, he locked them up from 4am to 6am.
“I was asked to give them massages on some occasions but I refused. I did not understand their language and they didn’t understand ours,” Neetu said.
After around a month of staying there, she decided that she had had enough and had to get out. The family members, however, threatened her.
On August 23, Neetu said she got a call from her husband. “I took the call and spoke to him. But, as soon as I was done talking, the employer snatched my mobile phone from me furiously. I was angry and told them that I did not want to work with them anymore,” said Neetu.
“The wife of the employer abused me and even held a knife to me and threatened to kill me,” she said. The family then got in touch with Anwar and asked him to come and take her away. “Anwar came and asked me to go downstairs and wait. I packed my bag and went down. I waited for two hours but he did not come. I later called my husband who came and picked me up from the main gate,” Neetu said.
“I worked for nearly 25 days and was not paid for even a single day. I will approach a court if I do not get my pending salary,” she said.
She also claimed she had approached both the Nepal and the Saudi Arabian embassies over the plight of the trapped women, but no one took her seriously.