Chennai: A 35-year-old woman of Tiruvannamalai, who had gone to work as maid in Saudi Arabia eight months ago, is arriving at Chennai airport early Thursday, packed in a coffin.
Poongavanam Nagarajan committed suicide by hanging on November 4, according to the post-mortem report issued by Al-Namaz general hospital in Abah city.
Her husband, P. Nagarajan, and other relatives are alleging her cruel employer, who happens to be a director at the same hospital, is responsible for her death.
They say she last phoned the family in August and had sobbed saying she was unable to bear the physical assaults of her employer.
“She told me she would somehow manage for another five months and return with some money so that our teenager son could get proper education,”
Nagarajan, a daily wager, told DC. “And now she is coming back as a corpse”.
Poongavanam had stopped sending money in the past five months and was exploited by her employer.
“She has sent Rs 10,000 each for three months and we received no money after that. She was treated like a slave – made to work for 18 hours and was locked up after work,” said the husband in a distressed tone, who last heard her screaming during a phone call.
“The call was cut while we were talking and I heard her screaming for help. I had been trying to reach her since then,” said the husband. V.K. Krishnan, an activist at Saudi Arabia who claimed her body, after being alerted by local police felt that there should be a thorough investigation in the case. “There were no external injuries on the body, even though her neck was visibly swollen,” he said.
State coordinator of migrant forum, National Domestic Workers Movement, M. Valarmathi said, “It is unfortunate that there is no strict legislation to protect migrant workers. She was keen on her son’s education and her death now looks suspicious.” Her family should be provided with compensation as she was killed in her workplace, added Valarmathi.