Probe called into death of Indian maid at Oman airport

By Sadat-Ahmed Bakir
BBC Tamil

Image caption,
Ms Lumada was forbidden from leaving the confines of the airport

Rights group Amnesty International has called for a probe into the death of an Indian maid who was stranded at Muscat airport for five days.

Forty-year-old house maid Beebi Lumada reportedly became mentally stressed during her ordeal last week.

She died of a seizure while on her way to hospital on Friday.

Ms Lumada was travelling from Muscat to Madras on a Qatar Airways flight. But she lost her passport while in transit and was sent back to Oman.

Amnesty said that her case raised "serious concerns" that need to be investigated by Oman and the Indian embassy in Muscat.

Indian embassy officials in Oman have refused to speak to the BBC about the case. But in comments made to the local press, they have admitted to "lapses" in dealing with it.

'Cardiac arrest'

Ms Lumada was not allowed to leave Muscat airport as she did not have a passport. Efforts by Qatar Airways to find her employers in Oman came to nothing.

A Qatar Airways spokesman said that they alerted the Indian embassy on 4 October and were given repeated assurances - not fulfilled - that officials would come and visit the stranded passenger.

The woman was reported by witnesses in the airport to have been extremely stressed during her stay in the transit lounge and worried that she may have to remain there indefinitely.

"Severe mental stress could have caused her cardiac arrest", a senior doctor in Oman is quoted as saying.

Indian Embassy officials in Muscat refused to speak to the BBC's Tamil service about the case.

But India's Ambassador to Oman, Anil Wadhwa is quoted by newspapers in Muscat as saying that he regretted that "procedural delays" resulted in "delayed help for the stranded passenger".

The embassy says that it tried to issue the maid with an emergency passport, but could not do so because the airline did not provide her details.

The embassy says that arrangements have now been made to send the body of Beebi Lumada back to her relatives in India.

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