For Seema Rani, it is a closure that she certainly never wanted. There have been reports that her husband had been killed in a Saudi jail – someone from the Gulf country even called to tell her that. But she still had hope. After all, the Ministry of External Affairs hadn’t confirmed any such news. The Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia too was silent. It was just to seek a confirmation that her husband was alive that she moved Punjab and Haryana High Court, which issued a notice to the Centre on April 8 asking it to confirm if Satwinder had been executed in Saudi Arabia or not.
Seema Rani received a letter from the MEA on Tuesday. The letter said that Satwinder and another man from Punjab, Harjeet Singh, were executed by the Saudi authorities on February 28 in connection with a murder case. The Indian Embassy, the letter said, was not informed about the beheading.
Satwinder hailed from Sardarpur Kulian village under Dasuya subdivision of Hoshiarpur district. He and Harjeet were arrested in 2015 for murdering one Arif Imamddin, who was also an Indian national.
Seema Rani is sore at the MEA. “My case was pending with the MEA since 2016. The ministry did not do anything for my husband in past three years,” Seema said.
She said she met several ministers and MPs from Punjab in connection with her husband’s case but no one listened to her. “Only former Lok Sabha MP from Hoshiarpur, Avinash Rai Khanna, helped us by taking up our case with the MEA,” she said.
“My last communication with my husband was on February 2. I received a call from an unknown person on March 1 who asked about our well being and disconnected the call. He called again on March 2 and informed us that my husband was beheaded on February 28 by the Saudi jail authorities. We approached the MEA, but they did not care to even confirm Satwinder’s death,” an inconsolable Seema said. She said that some people known to them from surrounding villages, who are working in Saudi, also confirmed about Satwinder’s death.
With no other option left, the family filed a petition in the High Court to know the whereabouts of Satwinder, said Vinod Kumar, the counsel for Seema, adding that Union government was aware of the criminal case and the same was informed to the court in the petition.
Satwinder had been working as a driver in Riyadh till his arrest in 2015. “He had gone to Saudi Arabia in 2013 to work as a truck driver on a two-year contract. He was arrested in 2015 but the family came to about his arrest several month later,” Seema said, adding that he used to call home after a gap of two to three months.
She said that he was arrested at a time his contract with the truck company was about to expire.
Satwinder is survived by his wife, 13 year old daughter, and old parents.
The family had taken a loan of Rs 2 lakh to pay to agent who had sent him to Saudi Arabia. “He went to Saudi Arabia with a dream of giving good education to our daughter and building our own house in the village,” she said.
Before moving to Saudi, he had spent two years in Kuwait.