Family members of a Hyderabadi woman allegedly lured to Riyadh with the promise of a good salary and then held captive and sexually harassed by her employer have appealed to the Telangana government and the external affairs ministry to rescue her.
Thirty-one-year-old Haleemunnisa’s woes once again underlined the plight of underprivileged people going abroad to earn money and then becoming a victim of their employers’ exploitation.
According to her brother Mohammad Asif, a resident of Vattipalli area in the old city of Hyderabad, Haleemunnisa, who had done a beautician’s course, was trapped by an agent named Viquar from Dabeerpura area, who promised her a good job in a Gulf country.
“We believed him because he was our neighbour in the past and he regularly sends people from old city to the Gulf for various jobs,” Asif told HT.
In March, Viquar, along with another agent Ahmed from Mumbai, told Haleemunnisa that they had found a beautician’s job with a firm owned by one Khalid Abdul Sayeed Lateef in Riyadh for a monthly salary of Rs 70,000 (in Indian currency). “However, there was no appointment letter nor was there any agreement of employment. But they assured that everything would be arranged once she went there,” Asif said.
On March 19, Haleemunnisa left for Riyadh and soon realised that she was cheated. She ended up as a maid servant of the employer, who started ill-treating her. After a few days she called up her family and narrated her tales of woe.
“She told us that she was made to work for more than 20 hours a day and was not allowed to sleep. She was not given proper food and was physically tortured,” her brother said.
Asif approached Hyderabad police commissioner M Mahender Reddy, who forwarded his complaint to Falaknuma police station. On April 13, the police filed an FIR against the agent Viquar under Section 420 of the IPC, but he was only questioned.
When the matter reached the Nampally criminal courts, the magistrate asked the police to get the victim back to India or get a formal complaint from her about the harassment meted out to her. On May 3, the agent submitted to the police an audio tape containing the telephonic conversation with Haleemunnisa and a letter purportedly written by her, stating that she was comfortable in Riyadh and that she was getting proper salary.
“Based on these so-called evidences, which we did not believe, the police are press me to compromise with Viquar so that case can be closed,” Asif said.
He said Haleemunnisa spoke to him and his aged mother on May 4 and told them that her employer had started torturing her more intensely after the case was filed. “She told me that she was also forced to have sex with him. She lamented that unless we pay him Rs 6 lakh rupees, she won’t be allowed to go back to India,”
Asif’s mother Habeebunnisa was hospitalised after coming to know about her daughter’s plight. “She is crying all through the day and want to see my sister at the earliest,” Asif said.
When contacted, Falaknuma sub-insepctor of police M Ramakrishna said the complainant had not produced any evidences so far to show that his sister was being tortured in Riyadh, so that she would be brought back to India. “We have booked the case and questioned the agent. We have asked the victim’s brother to at least submit the audio tape of the telephonic conversation he had with her explaining her plight. Once we get it, we shall make all efforts to bring her back to India,” the SI said.