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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 106

Sexual offender Shukri now in Nepal

By Sohail Choudhury

Maher Al-Shukri, who is named as a Defendant/Accused by Shehnaz Sani, a Muslim Indian woman from Mumbai, who has lodged a Petition with the Shariah Council in Jeddah, alleging sexual harassment, larceny, oppression and other offences committed against her, is now Country Manager of Saudi Arabian Airlines for Nepal.

During Shukri’s posting in Mumbai (India), there was a heated exchange of correspondence between Shehnaz and him, which have been tabled before the Shariah Council in her petition. In her letter of March 31, 2003, Shehnaz has leveled charges of unfair labor practices, acts of vendettas, deliberate harassment highly discriminative and cruel allocation of duties and duty timings since her reinstatement ordered by the Bombay High Court in 1999.

Shukri replied on April 4, 2003 determined to crucify her. He said , “it was noted every day you have not being doing any work in the office and have been refusing to carry out any work that is assigned to you”, thereby, admitting quite readily, that Shehnaz was back on the muster-roll of the SAA !

But, with illogical logic he continued “since you have not done any work, you are not entitled to any wages, nor is Company liable to pay you any wages, which please note!” On such flimsy and feeble excuses, since 1999 the SAA has steadfastly held back her pay-cheques with deliberate and, obviously, dubious intent. The missives flew fast and furiously to and fro, with Shukri and his team, fielding Shehnaz’ complaints; replying within 3 days at the most, fobbing off all her efforts to enforce the Court orders and seek her rights, very effectively. But the game-plan changed. The “Saudia” fielders were stumped.

Having reached the end of her tether, Shehnaz bowled a googly with her letter of February 24, 2006 to Mohsin M. Algarni, Country Manager, of SAA for India, forwarded through Shukri, then Station Manager, where she reflected at length about the persistent harassment, oppression, slander, larceny (Al-Sariqua) she had been subjected to. She also reiterated regarding the willful and deliberate non-compliance of the Bombay High Court’s various orders since February 5, 1999 by the SAA , which was done with malafide intent in order to continue to cause wrongful losses to her, with the SAA gaining illegally. In other words, her charge of larceny stood proved by the SAA’s own actions – and the documentary evidence supporting it. Shehnaz warned:

“You may kindly take note that I shall be taking appropriate civil and criminal action, as advised, for the severe damage caused to me by your ongoing harassment and persistent mental and physical torture, both in the Courts of Law in India as well as under the Shariah Laws, and have my matter placed before the authorities concerned in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including His Royal Highness, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, Council of the senior Ulama, President of the Court of Cassation, Minister for Justice and Judiciary (KSA) and others, if need be.

Further, do note that a very large sum, amounting to an ad hoc amount of INR 16 million, is due and payable to me, which includes not only my accrued and unpaid dues from 1999 until date, but also had I not been so victimized and oppressed, I would have since much earlier, by virtue of my tenure of employment and performance levels, been holding the post of a Supervisor, at the very least.

The said pending and accrued amounts, you and your cohorts have deliberately retained illegally and unlawfully, which unless given to me, as is my right, within two weeks hereof, I shall plead for invoking the Shariah Laws, including seeking ‘Hudood’ punishments to be meted to you and your accomplices, accordingly. It is wrong and sinful to continue to oppress and persecute a woman in the manner in which is being done with me, you will surely appreciate.

In addition to the amounts that are due and payable to me as above, you will certainly agree that, having oppressed me most cruelly, since the last two decades, without any just cause, rhyme or reason, and only because I spoke out against sexual harassment, slander and other offences committed against me, which stand proved in Courts, a compensation equivalent to not less than INR 12 crores (SR 1 million approx.) must be paid to me.

The offender has been given shelter by you, instead of chastising him as you ought to have done. Needless to say, I shall be proceeding against him in particular, while you and others concerned must be held vicariously responsible and liable in your individual and official capacities. You are further fully aware, especially since you and my other oppressors, largely hail from the KSA, that I have with me documentary evidence to substantiate my contentions. According to Imam Abu Hanifah, as you will certainly know, documentary proof is sufficient for rights and in respect of ta’zir crimes. Imam Abu Yusuf Imman Mohammed maintained that if a document is found in the official record of a Court, duly signed by the authorized officer or Judge, it is sufficient proof vis-à-vis ta’zir crimes, which, you will appreciate, are set out in various orders of the Bombay High Court, which are in your records.

Notably, such documents are admitted as valid proof for rights and ta’zir crimes, and, often enough, the outcome and punishment meted out, is based largely on such documentary evidence, which speaks volumes for themselves and cannot be disputed. Besides, there is on record statements of witnesses with regard to the serious criminal offences committed with impunity; sheltered by you and others, by your colleague, who had subjected me to sexual harassment and other degradations, which are severally dealt with in the Shariah; even calling for ‘Hudood’ punishments, which cannot, under any circumstances whatsoever, be wished away.

I am marking copies of my this reply to His Excellency, Consulate General of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and others concerned for record and necessary action, especially since I am truly fearful that you will continue to further use all deceitful ploys to harm me mentally and physically, for having stood up for my rights against continuing oppression, as you have been doing since the past two decades”.

Since then, there has been an abrupt silence! Until this date, the volley has not been returned. Shehnaz has got no reply!

In her appeal to the Shariah Council, Shehnaz has charged Shukri, who joined as Station Manager of SAA in Mumbai in March 2001, as being responsible for continuing his predecessor’s acts of vendettas and commissioning of ‘hudud’ and ‘ta’azir’ crimes against her. She contended that he had not taken cognizance of her continuous protest regarding field work issued to him through her various letters only with the idea of causing her greater physical harm and mental anguish in a most perverse manner.

“He did not pay me my wages for the sick leave I was forced to take almost every alternate day on account of body ache, feet swelling because of the heavy field work assigned by him, in order to break my spirit when such work is usually done by much younger personnel” Shehnaz (53) has charged him with larceny (theft), betrayal of trust, bearing false witness, defamation, hypocrisy and being totally unjust. The ‘hudud’ punishment prescribed for continuing larceny is cutting off of the right hand at the wrist and the left foot at the ankle, in addition to a minimum of 80 lashes.

Shehnaz has named seven men as Defendants/accused in her complaint to the Shariah Council, all of whom are Muslims, natives of Saudi Arabia, senior officers of the Saudi Arabian Airlines and to whom the dictates of the Shariah applicably. They are all subjects of King Abdullah, Ruler of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Of these, while Shukri has been shunted off to Nepal, Saad A. Mugaddam has recently been appointed as SAA’s Country Manager for Indonesia and is based at Jakarta.

The main accused, Abdul Ellah Bahrani, is reportedly back in Saudi Arabia, while the others are still posted in Mumbai.

Shehnaz has appealed to Dr. Giraja Vyas, President of the National Council for Women in India and the All India Women’ Conference, for support against such repression. “It is no secret that women from India, Pakistan, Philippines and Bangladesh are often brutalized, sexually exploited and victimized by their sadistic employers inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The sordid tales of mistreatment, torture and sexual depravity, which some Saudis are alleged to indulge in, even in other countries where they have business offices, cannot be entirely discounted. Shehnaz’ refusal to bow down to such oppression is an inspiration to all Muslim women!” Chairman of Bangladesh Editor’s Forum Shahidur Rahman Tapa said.

Sadly, however, it appears that while Shehnaz has received support from the media, not single Women’ Organization in India has come to her aid in her struggle spanning two decades! Tapa said, these Saudis are abusing the good name of Islam. They wear Islamic dresses to show that they are religious, but inside their homes, regular sexual harassment of women employees is becoming a regular phenomenon.

- Asian Tribune -

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