A 40-year-old woman who was supposed to fly from Saudi Arabia to India claimed that she was not allowed to board the flight because she couldn’t pay for the mandatory COVID-19 test. She intimated this information through a two-minute audio message sent to Congress leader Charmesh Sharma who is the vice-president of Bundi district. The woman’s name is Reena Gehlodh and she originally belongs to Harda district of Madhya Pradesh where her husband and daughter reside.
Gehlodh currently stays and works in the recruitment shelter at Al-Qassim in Saudi Arabia. She was supposed to board her flight on January 5, 2020. As per the reports, in the audio message, Gehlodh mentioned that she was summoned for the coronavirus test on Monday, January 4, 2020 evening by personnel of the recruitment shelter. The personnel demanded 850 riyals in return which is equal to Rs 17,000 before boarding the flight.
When Gehlodh expressed her inability to pay the amount, the personnel asked her to stay back and work for another month to procure the amount. Reportedly, Gehlodh has been staying in Saudi Arabia for the last 11 months on a work visa.
Earlier in November 15, 2020, she had released a video message online in which she revealed that she was held hostage by her employer who was also harassing her. She had appealed for help following which Charmesh Sharma filed online complaints with the Ministry of External Affairs, Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia and PMO’s office. Subsequently, the Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia responded. The Indian Embassy asked Sharma to submit Gehlodh’s visa documents and within few days of submission, her flight back to India was scheduled on January 5.
After the issue around the payments of coronavirus virus test, Gehlodh’s hope to meet her family has fainted away. Congress leader Charmesh Sharma has urged the Indian authorities to look into the matter and take the necessary actions.