Plea to help maid return By ANIQA HAIDER Published: 25th February 2008

A RUNAWAY housemaid, who is scheduled to be deported on Friday after being in police custody from a month, is appealing for help to buy an air ticket home.

The sponsor of Indian Malakkunnel Kunjappan Radha, 51, is reportedly refusing to return her passport, a release letter or pay for her ticket despite an outpass given to her by the Indian Embassy.

She had arrived from Kerala on a two-year contract in 1994 to work as a housemaid for a Bahraini family.

However, she ran away from her sponsor's house a month before the contract ended and lived with a family friend, who promised to help her get a better job, according to sources.

Ms Radha has been working in various houses ever since, they said.

When the Bahrain government launched the general amnesty last year, she went to the embassy for an outpass, which can be used instead of her passport to leave the country.

"However, the General Directorate of Nationality, Passport and Residence (GDNPR) rejected her outpass as she had to get a permission letter from her sponsor," said the sources.

She went back to the embassy to seek assistance and the officials there reportedly told her that she could leave the country without any problems.

"But her outpass was rejected for the second time and when she went to immigration for the third time on January 29, at the end of the general amnesty period, she was taken in custody," they said.

An Indian Embassy spokesman confirmed that Ms Radha was issued an outpass in October last year.

"Our job is to issue the outpass to illegal residents, which we did," said the spokesman.

"But what happens after that is between the immigration and the individual.

Ms Radha's friend Edward Fernandez said: "Me and another friend have been helping her financially."

"When I asked authorities why her outpass has been rejected, they didn't give me any reason and told me that I should arrange for her ticket as she is being deported on Friday.

"I am appealing to social workers and associations to help me raise funds for an air ticket.

"Ms Radha's only family back home is her three children - two boys aged 25 and 20, and an 18-year-old girl - who can't afford to help her."

An immigration official said that Ms Radha was taken into custody because her sponsor reported her as a runaway.

The Pravasi Association of Angamaly and Nedumbassy is spearheading the campaign to raise money for an air ticket.

For donations, contact Mr Fernandez on 39188926 or PAAN vice-president George Mangali on 39900128.

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