India

Saudi diplomat 'raped Nepali maids' in India

Two veiled Nepali women, who told police they were raped by a Saudi official, sit in a vehicle outside Nepal"s embassy in New Delhi, India, September 9, 2015. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The victims alleged they were abused over several months at the apartment in Gurgaon

Police in India are investigating allegations that a Saudi Arabian diplomat raped two Nepali maids at his home near the capital Delhi.

The women were rescued from the house in the suburb of Gurgaon on Monday after a tip-off from an NGO.

They say they were held captive by his family and starved and sexually abused by them and other Saudi nationals.

The Saudi embassy denied the charges. Police say the official has diplomatic immunity and is in the embassy.

They have registered a case of rape, sodomy and illegal confinement against the official, without naming him.

The two women, aged 30 and 50, were apparently lured away from Nepal with promises of fake jobs, The Hindu reports.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Gurgaon is an upmarket suburb on the outskirts of the capital

The alleged abuse to which they were subjected took place over several months at the apartment in Gurgaon, south of Delhi.

Confirming the official had immunity, Gurgaon police chief Navdeep Singh Virk said the women had told the police the diplomat's family "had hired them and taken them to Jeddah a few months back for working as maids".

The women worked in Jeddah for about a month and then returned to the apartment in Gurgaon where they continued to work as maids.

"[The women] allege that the Saudi Arabian family detained them for the past four-five months, and they were not allowed to go out of the house, and during this period they were beaten up, raped and abused and threatened by the family and their guests," Mr Virk said.

Police raided the apartment late on Monday and rescued the women.

"The women were brought to the police station and later sent to the hospital for a medical examination that confirmed rape and sexual assault," senior Gurgaon police official Rajesh Kumar Chechi told The Indian Express newspaper.

The women told the Times Now television channel they were never abused at the embassy official's house in Saudi Arabia and that the violence started only after they returned to India.

"They would beat us every night and often there was more than one man who would torture and rape us," one of the women said. "We have marks all over our body."

Mr Virk said the police had provided the "requisite information" to India's foreign ministry.

Nepal's embassy said earlier it was waiting for the police investigation to end before it launched a diplomatic complaint, Reuters reported.

Thousands of men and women from Nepal, one of the world's poorest countries, travel to India and other Asian and Arab states every year to seek work as domestic servants and labourers.

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