India summons Saudi ambassador over rape case
India has called in the Saudi ambassador as part of a probe into allegations that a Saudi diplomat raped two Nepali maids, an Indian foreign ministry spokesman says.
Vikas Swarup said on Twitter that the foreign ministry on Thursday “conveyed (a) request” from the police to Saud Mohammed Al Sati for the Saudi embassy’s cooperation “in the case of 2 Nepali citizens.”
The Indian police also said on Wednesday that they were pushing ahead with their investigation into the scandal despite the diplomat’s immunity, which protects him from detention and questioning.
A case of “rape, sodomy and illegal confinement” has been filed against the diplomat, AFP quoted a senior Indian police officer as saying.
Meanwhile, Indians staged a protest outside the Saudi embassy in the capital, New Delhi, on Thursday. Demonstrators were holding placards reading “Protect dignity of women,” “No immunity for rapists” and “Fig leaf of diplomatic immunity no excuse to commit crimes.”
On September 7, Indian police raided the Saudi diplomat’s apartment at Caitriona Towers in the suburb of the city of Gurgaon, south of New Delhi, after a tip-off from a local NGO, Maiti Nepal India.
The two Nepali maids, who were rescued in the police raid, said they were repeatedly raped, starved and held hostage for several months after leaving Nepal to work for the Saudi official.
“They raped us, kept us locked up, did not give us anything to eat… When we tried to run away, we were beaten up,” one of the rescued women said.
The pair were taken to a women’s shelter in Nepal on Thursday.
The Saudi embassy in India has denied the accusations, noting in a statement that they are “false and have not been proven.”
Thousands of Nepalis go to India and other Asian and Arab countries every year in search of a job as domestic servants and laborers.