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Nepali maid-Saudi diplomat-Saudi Arabia
Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee
The women were allegedly raped, illegally confined and tortured.
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A Saudi diplomat in India has been accused of repeatedly raping his Nepali maids

By Manu Balachandran

A Saudi Arabian diplomat in India has been accused of repeatedly raping his maids over the last three months.

On Sept. 08, two Nepalese women, who worked at the diplomat’s house in Gurgaon—a satellite town adjoining India’s capital city—alleged that they were gang-raped, illegally confined and tortured by the diplomat and his friends.

The women, aged 30 and 50, had come to work with the diplomat after the devastating earthquake in Nepal earlier this year. The earthquake had killed over 8,000 people and displaced thousands more.

The Saudi Arabian embassy has refuted the allegations and protested against the “intrusion” by the police into the diplomat’s residence.

In an interview to Firstpost, one of the victims, who identified the diplomat as Majid, said:

“Majid took us to Saudi Arabia. We stayed there for 15 days before being brought back to India three months ago. Then the violence started. We were raped every night by Majid and his guests. If we resisted, we were threatened with dire consequences. After performing household duties throughout the day, we were subjected to sexual assault at night. Often, there would be more than one man who would rape and torture us. We have marks on our body.”

The Gurgaon Police, which is investigating the case, has sent a report to India’s foreign ministry.

“We have sent the report to the MEA (ministry of external affairs). The second report also supports the first one which showed they were sexually assaulted,” Rajesh Kumar, Gurgaon’s assistant commissioner of police, told the Times of India newspaper.

Indian government has asked the Saudi Arabian embassy to cooperate with the investigations.

The Saudi national—whose identity has been protected by the embassy—enjoys diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention in India, which prevents local police from detaining or questioning him. The diplomat has taken shelter at the embassy, where the police has no jurisdiction.

This incident might put India on a diplomatic tightrope. Since coming to power last year, the Narendra Modi government has sought to repair its frayed relations with Nepal, with the prime minister even visiting the Himalayan nation twice in 2014.

Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is a key ally for India in the Middle East, and also home to a large non-resident Indian population. The Saudis played a crucial role in helping India evacuate some 4,000 of its citizens from Yemen in April this year.