Haridasan could not hold back his tears while speaking from Alappuzha Medical college hospital. The trauma of the torture he has been through reflects in his broken sentences and the deep breaths he takes while speaking.
Haridasan came back to his home in Haripad of Alappuzha district on Wednesday around 4 am, with the help of few Malayali organizations in Malaysia. A few days ago, Haridasan's relatives in Alappuzha received a photograph of Haridasan, his body covered in burn injuries.
Since then, his wife, Rajasree, had been approaching authorities to help rescue her husband, who had left for Malaysia three-and-a-half years ago. Haridasan had been working in a salon in Alappuzha before he left for Malaysia in 2016, with the help of an agent from Tamil Nadu, to work as a hairdresser. The ordeal began when Haridasan asked his employer for a salary hike, after which his employer found an amount of 1,500 ringgit in his bag, which was actually the money earned by Haridasan by working extra hours.
"My employer found the money in my bag. I had earned it by working on Tuesdays, without even taking a day off in a week. A percentage of our daily earnings will be taken by the employer. Rest of the money I kept in my bag. The salary was also low so I had asked him for a hike, which he did not like," Haridasan said.
"On January 28, this employer, I don't know his name... He is a Tamilian, that's all I knowâ€¦ he hit me multiple times using a wooden rod. When the rod broke, he hit me with his hands. Later, I was taken to a closed room. He seized all my belongings, including my phone. He continued hitting me for a few days and finally, I was burnt using a hot iron rod. I thought I would die there. I don't know how many days I was kept in the room," he recalled.
When there was no other way for him to contact his family, he informed his employer that his family might contact the police if he failed to keep in touch. "Then he allowed me to call and forced me to tell my family that I was fine there. I couldn't tell them my situation as he was standing next to me and threatened to torture me again," he said.
The employer wanted Haridasan to confess that he had stolen the money and wanted him to return it. â€śEven after I was badly beaten, I did not confess as I had earned the money myself. It was my money," he said, breaking into tears.
Haridasan spent days in the room with burn injuries. "I was not able to wear any clothes as injuries were severe. I remained naked for more than 20 days in the room. I was not able to sit as there were burn injuries all over my body. Most days, I stood all day and night without sleep, crying,â€ť Haridasan said, narrating his horrific ordeal.
â€śEvery day, he came and hit me with a cable," he told TNM. "A foul smell started emanating from my wounds and it was only then that he gave me some ointment to apply on them," he added.
Then, fortunately, someone took pictures of him and sent them to his relatives in Kerala, who immediately started trying to bring him back home.
"I don't know who clicked my photos. I was half-conscious and had lost hope. Somebody might have felt sympathy and did so. I was rescued by some Malayali organisations. I came to Chennai on Tuesday and reached home Wednesday early morning," he said.
After reaching home, Haridasan was taken to Alappuzha Medical College, where he will undergo treatment for his injuries.
"The wounds have not healed yet. It is painful. The doctor has asked me not to go out for a few weeks," he said.