Sundari is scared Kalaivanan's employers may soon kill him

I just want my husband back alive says wife of TN worker tortured in Saudi ArabiaScreenshot from video
news Gulf Nightmare Wednesday, June 01, 2016 - 13:15

When 37-year-old Kalaivanan went to Saudi Arabia on March 29, 2015, he and his wife, K Sundari (31), thought this would finally mean the end of their financial struggles. But in just a few months, their expectations changed drastically, and all that Sundari wants is that her huband returns home alive.

Kalaivanan’s move to Saudi Arabia had apparently been arranged through an agent, Kumar, who hails from Kodivalakam village in Nagapattinam. Although Kalaivanan had been promised the job of a driver, when he arrived he found out that he had been given the job of a shepherd instead.

Talking about her husband, Sundari starts crying, “Whenever he talks to me on the phone he is always crying. The working conditions are getting worse for him,” she said.

One of the main problems he faced, she said, was the high temperature in which he had to work. “He even became unwell. His nose was bleeding and he vomited blood also. No one even takes him to the hospital,” she explained.

Sundari adds that Kalaivanan has tried to escape twice from his employers, but was caught and beaten. She says that although they approached the agent for help, he only asked for additional money, but did not do anything to help.

With few options left to him, her husband is trying various methods to win his freedom, much of which only results in further beatings from his employers. “Recently, he published a video of himself and was beaten up by the owners,” says Sundari.

She worries that if this situation continues, Kalaivanan’s employers might kill him soon.

While Kalaivanan suffers in Saudi Arabia, says Sundari, the situation at home is dire too.

Her husband was the sole breadwinner of the family, but Sundari had to start working too as the family did not receive any money from Kalaivanan in over eight months. She earns a meagre Rs 1500 per month and does not know how to support her family. “It has been eight months since my husband sent money. I cannot even provide for my children’s basic necessities,” she said.

But it’s not just financial struggles that Sundari faces. “I and my children are living alone in this village. There is no protection. It is really scary for us. I want my husband to be back,” she says.

On one occasion, when she was doing her job of collecting payments from people who had borrowed from her employer, she was hit on the head with a sharp object and had to receive eight stitches.

At night, she and her children sleep at a neighbour’s house for security.

 “My younger daughter keeps asking for her father, what should I tell her?” she asks.

As for government support, although she submitted a letter to the District Collector in February 2016 she has received no help in the three months since. She is now searching for some means by which to get help from the Indian government in bringing her husband back. “I don’t know what to do. There is no one to help us. Please find a way to get him back,” she pleads.

All Kalaivanan wants, she says, is to return home to his family. “He told me, ‘I do not want anything. I just want to come back and see my daughters’.”

See Kalaivanan's video appeal for help here: 

 

Also read: Abused and helpless: Is Indian embassy apathetic to migrant workers in the Gulf?

Cheated, exploited and trapped: Untold stories of Indian migrant workers in Saudi Arabia

How many more Abdul Sattars? Gulf countries are not dream destinations for Indian workers

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