Lankan maid alleges sponsor poisoned her

Updated 01 June 2014
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Lankan maid alleges sponsor poisoned her

A Sri Lankan maid claimed that she was not paid, beaten and poisoned by her sponsor during her stay in Riyadh, according to a report published Friday in Colombo.
W. Amitha Kumari, a mother of two and resident of Iranawila, arrived home on a stretcher and had to undergo several operations on her stomach, according to the report.
Kumari claimed that her sponsor tried to kill her with poison and that she now cannot eat solid food and only have liquids fed through a tube to her stomach.
She claimed that no one came to help her over the last three months in Sri Lanka.
Kumari said she had been sent to the Kingdom by an employment agency. When she arrived in Riyadh, she was allegedly not paid her salary for three months. After arguing with her sponsor, she was given some money to send home to her children, she claimed in the report.
Kumari alleged she was then taken to a place where she had to care for 10 children including washing their clothes and cooking food for them around the clock.
She claimed that she was not paid for three months and that her employer refused to allow her to contact her family.
“I was not allowed to communicate with my family for six months. I didn’t eat food for three weeks because I was angry. They then beat me and threatened to kill me. I fell unconscious and they opened my mouth and forced me to swallow poison claiming it was medicine,” she alleged.
“When they took me to the hospital they told me to tell the doctors that I didn’t take anything. I was afraid for my life so I didn’t tell the medical staff what happened,” she claimed. “I stayed in the hospital for a month and told them that I wanted to go home.”
She said she was eventually put on a plane home with a saline drip still in place. “When I arrived home my husband admitted me to the Ragama hospital. For one-and-a-half months I was not given any solid food with only saline administered,” she said.
“They took many different tests and later I had to undergo surgery. After that they fixed a bag to my stomach and I was only given liquids,” she said.
“The doctors say that I have to undergo more surgery but are delaying it because I am physically so weak,” she said.
“My family is in a severe predicament and even the foreign employment bureau has not come to my assistance,” she claimed. She said she does not have money to educate her children.
Her mother-in-law, Malini Mendis, said that her son was a fisherman but did not make a lot of money. This resulted in her daughter-in-law seeking foreign employment, “but now we are in a worse predicament,” she said.
Mangala Randeniya, spokesman for the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), told Arab News that the case has to be investigated because Kumari has made serious allegations against her sponsor and the job agent. He said the SLBFE would contact the Riyadh embassy to confirm the case.
The labor welfare officer at the Sri Lankan Embassy said that the case was not reported to the mission. “We do not know anything about this matter,” the diplomat said. However, he said that it was possible for such a case to have bypassed the embassy and taken up in Sri Lanka.


Old Jeddah celebrates Saudi National Day in its own unique way

Updated 21 September 2018
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Old Jeddah celebrates Saudi National Day in its own unique way

  • Visitors were welcomed in a traditional Saudi way of welcoming guests through singing folk songs that include Arabic poetry.
  • The event also included an exhibition of the ‘Hijazi dances’ and ‘Haret Zaman’, which embodies the city of Jeddah during the last 80 years.

JEDDAH: A four-day event is to be held in Old Jeddah to mark Saudi National Day with activities organized by the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation, known as Misk.
The events, which kicked off in the Al-Balad area on Sept. 20 and run from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m, aim to highlight the most important historical monuments through displaying activities related to the Kingdom’s unification. Historical Jeddah is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
The event will run until Sep 23. In all 22 cultural activities and entertainments have been organized.
Visitors were welcomed in a traditional Saudi way of welcoming guests through singing folk songs that include Arabic poetry. The songs were performed by Yousef Al-Zubairi, who has participated in many national events. He has been performing Hijazi folk songs for more than 13 years.
Yousef Al-Zubairi told Arab News: “I welcome the visitors so that they feel cherished by being here, especially when they come in large groups. I perform the Hijazi hymns called Majassat, it is a traditional folk song.”
The event also included an exhibition of the ‘Hijazi dances’ and ‘Haret Zaman’, which embodies the city of Jeddah during the last 80 years. An open exhibition of handicrafts and traditional dishes has also been laid on.
A number of famous Saudi media influencers attended the event including poet Adwa Al-Dakheel and singer Hisham Abdulrahman.
A 25-meter mural was created by a team of four Saudi artists to mark the day and express their feelings.
Faisal Arif, one of the organizers, said: “The mural contains many distinctive features that personalize the National Day including the new logo of the national day and many prominent symbols related to the Kingdom.”
Abdul Aziz Al-Andanosi, the founder of the art team and owner of Dhad art store, told Arab News: “The mural features parts of the national anthem and many other slogans such as NEOM and Vision 2030.”
A special space has been allocated to a group of talented painters and hobbyists to display their paintings that express their love and gratitude to Saudi Arabia.
Museum of historic items
A number of museums were opened to visitors as part of the event.
Abeer Bashmakh, a fan of Saudi history and archaeology, volunteers each year to spread the knowledge and civilization of the Kingdom to others, introducing visitors to the beauty of Hijazi heritage.
Bashmakh tells visitors about the history of the Hijaz and the historical items found in the Hijaz area, such as ancient Islamic inscriptions.
She told Arab News: “The existence of these jugs engraved in the house was considered as a sign of luxury as the age of the antiquities and collectibles is around 50 to 150 years old and it has inscriptions of the Umayyad period (661–750CE), all of which were discovered in the Arabian Peninsula or in the Hijaz.”
Fouad Bukhari and his rare collection of all Saudi Arabia’s paper and metal coins from the time of its first king to the present was one of the outstanding contributions.
Bukhari owns a private museum in his home containing a large collection of the most important and rare Saudi and Hijazi coins, as well as the first postage stamp created by the first Saudi state.
Bukhari said: “I am proud to participate today to spread the knowledge among the younger generation about the rarest currencies and stamps of the country.”
He added: “I have coins dating back to (1344) in the Islamic calendar (1925), the year in which the first coin belonging to the Saudi state under King Abdul Aziz was made. It does not contain the two swords and palm tree, as it was adopted to the Saudi currency for the first time during the rule of King Saud.”
Three soundproof pavilions were available for children and adults to sing the Saudi National Anthem and share them on social media platforms.