Plea to help repatriate Lankan maid’s body

Plea to help repatriate Lankan maid’s body

December 16, 2010   07:50 am


An urgent appeal has gone out to help repatriate the body of a Sri Lankan housemaid stranded in Bahrain as she was living in Bahrain illegally for the past two years. Marasingha Arachchige Kalyanawathie collapsed and died of heart attack in her flat early this month.



The 66-year-old came to Bahrain 30 years ago to work as a housemaid for a Bahraini sponsor.



She never went back to Sri Lanka since and got married to a Bahraini man, who is also believed to be her sponsor, after she converted to Islam.



He is believed to have died years ago and Ms Kalyanawathie started working elsewhere after her visa expired in 2008.



Her case was highlighted when police called the Sri Lankan consulate and informed them of her death.



Her body is kept in Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) morgue and Sri Lankan honorary consul general P B Higgoda is following up the case.



“Her case is very complicated as her sponsor or husband died years ago,” said Mr Higgoda.



“She was doing odd jobs and stayed illegally after her visa expired in 2008.



“I got the details from the police that she got married to a Bahraini man after she converted to Islam.



“They didn’t provide us more details on when she got married.



“But they have all details in the system and probably it’s her sponsor she got married to, but it’s not clear.



“The problem is that she never thought of going back home and later didn’t renew her visa.



“Now we are facing difficulties in repatriating her body.



“It’s already more than a week since she died and we can’t trace her sponsor or get any records related to her.”



Mr Higgoda said that they had her CPR and passport numbers from the police, but they can’t help with more details.



“Now we have to check if she has any relatives in Sri Lanka,” he said.



“According to my information, she was in Bahrain for the past 30 years and had no contact with her family.






“We have to send a letter to the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry and our embassy in Kuwaitto get details about her family members, if she has any.



“Otherwise, we need to fulfil the requirements according to Bahraini law and cremate the body here, as we have no other choice.”



Mr Higgoda urged community members to legalise their status if they wish to live or work in Bahrain.



“We have urged the community several times and we would like to emphasise that if they break the Bahrain law, there can be problems even after their death,” he added.



“So we want them to follow rules and regulations and legalise their stay in Bahrain.” The Gulf Daily News reports.

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