Wayanad woman employed as housemaid dies in Kuwait, family alleges torture by employer, seeks justice

Ajitha (50). Photo: Manorama.

Kalpetta: Six months ago, when Ajitha, a 50-year-old woman from Wayanad got a job as housemaid in Kuwait, all she wanted was to do her bit in helping her husband build a new house and ensure better prospects for their children.

On May 17, Ajitha's daughter Midhusha received a call from an agency specialized in transporting dead bodies to India saying they were entrusted to transport the body of Ajitha to Kerala. The agency further informed that the body of Ajitha was found hanging from the roof in the house of her employer in Kuwait.

The family was left shattered and clueless. Days later her husband Vijayan, an autorickshaw driver at Kakkavayal received voice messages of Ajitha from one of her friends in Wayanad. In these voice clips, Ajitha would recount harrowing details of torture she had reportedly borne in the house of her employer.
Vijayan has been running from pillar to post to unravel the reasons that led to his wife's death and also to source her personal belongings that were held back by the family in Kuwait where Ajitha was working.

Apart from submitting complaints to the District Collector, Superintendent of Police, T Siddique MLA and Rahul Gandhi MP, Vijayan also submitted a complaint to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on May 28. According to the complaint Ajitha had been working in Kuwait as a housemaid for the last 6 months. She had undergone inexplicable torture at the house and was brutally beaten up by the woman who was the house owner.

The agency in Ernakulam which had sent the woman to the Gulf had taken up the issue and had shifted Ajitha to another house, which belonged to the daughter of her first employer. Since then there were regular phone calls and WhatsApp messages from Ajitha. The last call came on May 15 when she told Vijayan that she was preparing to return as things were not much rosy in Kuwait. Later there were no calls from her and when asked the agency officials told Vijayan that the house owner in Kuwait had kept the phone in her custody. The agency officials also told Vijayan that Ajitha had also booked a flight ticket to return home on May 18.

As there was no information from Ajitha even after the date of the flight, the family again contacted the agency which said they had filed a complaint with the Kuwait police as the woman failed to report at the airport on the date of flight.
'' The house owner was so brutal that Ajitha was denied food for many days and also was brutally beaten up for the silliest of things. When the body was brought a few days back, her jaw was broken, after she was hit by some heavy object. We strongly believe that my wife was tortured to death as she was returning home against their will,'' said Vijayan. She had directed her friend not to inform us of the torture she had undergone because she may have wanted us not to worry, Vijayan said. '' It was for us she had sacrificed her life and it is our duty to ensure justice for her,'' said Vijayan. Final rites of Ajitha were held on May 21.  

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