The relatives of 41-year-old Shaheen Begum, who worked as a housemaid in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, have alleged that they were kept in the dark over her death for a fortnight. Family members say that Shaheen died on August 13 but they were informed about it by her employer only on August 31.
The deceased had purportedly complained of abuse by her employer for a while and she had expressed her desire to return back to India citing deteriorating health. The family now suspects foul play behind her demise.
Her family has now reached out to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj over social media. The Chief Secretary to the government of Telangana has also sent a letter to the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia. Embassy officials in Saudi got in touch with the grieving family on Saturday.
Suspicious death of Shaheen Begum in Riyadh 25 days back, family appeals @SushmaSwaraj for necessary inquiry & to help in bringing back dead body to Hyderabad.@IndianEmbRiyadh @ajxtopcop@ProtectorGenGOI @KTRTRS @vijaypdwivedi @meaMADAD @HelplinePBSK @sushilrTOI @hydcitypolice pic.twitter.com/nDviLcy3si— Amjed Ullah Khan MBT (@amjedmbt) August 31, 2018
Shaheen took the job offer in Riyadh in 2016 after her husband's sudden demise. Two agents, Shakeel and Omer, from Amberpet in Hyderabad helped her secure the job on the promise that she would be paid Rs 20,000 per month as salary.
However, she was only paid Rs 16,000 by her employer. The kin aren’t sure if Shakeel and Omer are registered agents.
Speaking to TNM, the son-in-law of the deceased, Mohammad Shabbir, said, “Her employer called us on August 31 and told us that she had passed away, but did not give an explanation as to how it happened. We last spoke to her on August 5 or 6, and she had complained about being abused by the family, especially by the daughters of her employer."
The family claimed that Shaheen was initially hired as a caretaker for the children, but they made her work as a housemaid.
“She asked me to request her employer to send her back to India as her health worsened. But the employer asked my mother to pay Rs 3 lakh that the employer had paid the two agents in Hyderabad to buy my mother," said Baseena, Shaheen’s daughter, when speaking to ANI.
"Her employer promised to send her back but started torturing her," her daughter alleged.
The Indian Embassy officials presently only have the phone number of Shaheen’s employer and efforts are being made to get in touch with him.