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Lankan maid kills herself

A Sri Lankan housemaid has committed suicide in her employer’s house in the north eastern town of Khafji in the Eastern Province.
The Sri Lankan Embassy has confirmed the death of Easwary (not her real name), 35, who hailed from Colombo, the capital of the island nation.
The maid’s Saudi employer had to break down the door of the bathroom when she failed to answer repeated calls only to find her dead, according to embassy sources.
The Eastern Province police spokesman, Col. Ziad Al-Rugaiti, said the maid committed suicide and that the police are investigating her motive.
Embassy sources admitted that they receive reports of suicide cases at regular intervals.
The cases are reported to the next-of-kin of the deceased, they said and they do their best to conduct fair investigations on the deaths.
“We are conducting an analysis on the pattern of suicide cases among the housemaids in the Kingdom,” the sources noted.
In an earlier case involving a housemaid, Poshpawalli Selladurai, 36, who had supposedly committed suicide, was actually murdered by her female sponsor. This was revealed in the postmortem report.
The police in Al-Jouf, some 1,200 km from the capital arrested the sponsor who later admitted her guilt and paid the blood money to the maid’s relatives.
Embassy sources said that they were also waiting for Easwary’s postmortem report which would be released by the police shortly.
Head of Sri Lanka’s National Institute of Mental Health Promotion, Dr. Neil Fernando, said that the latest official data shows that Sri Lanka has one of the highest suicide rates in the world with almost 4,000 cases per year. The majority of victims were aged 15-44, he added.
In 1950, Sri Lanka’s annual suicide rate was 6.5 per 100,000. By 2001, it had climbed to 55. In 1996, the island nation had the highest rate in the world, with almost 9,000 suicide deaths that year. Though the rate declined to 16 per 100,000 in 2011, it remains among the worst globally.
According to a recent police report, 3,770 people committed suicide, including 231 women, in 2011. Most were from rural areas and were mainly due to poverty and debt. This impoverishment has been intensified by government cuts to farm subsidies, rising production costs and low prices of agricultural goods.

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