When Gurbaksh Kaur called on Friday to say she was returning, her family was relieved. Three months after she found herself stuck in Saudi Arabia in a nightmarish situation, the 43-year-old will land in New Delhi at 5.30 am on Saturday.
Her family is in the national capital to meet her. Their relief however is only partial: Kaur’s 23-year-old daughter Reena, who is also in Saudi Arabia, remains untraceable.
The women’s ordeal began three months ago when they left their village Garhi Fateh Khan to go abroad to earn. Three agents had taken Rs 1.20 lakh and promised them jobs in Malaysia. Instead, the two found themselves in Saudi Arabia’s Dammam city, with agents asking for more money to have them sent back.
In Saudi Arabia, the two women found themselves separated. While Gurbaksh Kaur was dismissed for her job, Reena was allegedly implicated in a case and sent to police, who divulge her whereabouts, news agency IANS reported.
"While she herself had been sacked from her job, Reena had been framed in a false case and handed over to the police, who were not divulging any information on her whereabouts, Gurbaksh is reported to have said in the video, appealing to Sushma Swaraj for help in securing their safe return home," the news agency quoted a Punjab government spokesperson as saying on Monday.
Gurbaksh Kaur’s son, 26-year-old Pakhar Ram, however claimed that it was his mother who was implicated in a case and sent to jail, but later "rescued".
His father Gurmel Singh says he has been promised Reena would also return soon.
Their ordeal has been one that has made national headlines — videos of their desperate pleas for help forced the press, Punjab’s Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, and Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to intervene.
When the two women first went missing, their family approached police for help. Finding them uncooperative, they began to seek political intervention: they approached Nawanshahr MLA Angad Singh and Atam Nagar MLA Simranjit Singh Bains, and later to Union Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Police booked the three agents — two of whom are from Jalandhar, according to Kaur’s family — for cheating on October 31.