By Our Correspondent Pathari Shanishchare, Sept. 14: It has been 11 years since Uttam Limbu of Pathari Shanishchare Municipality–9, Morang went to Saudi Arabia for work. In those 11 years, the country saw eight prime ministers, two presidents, an earthquake, a border blockade, the promulgation of a new constitution and a pandemic. But throughout all this, Limbu has not called his family once nor has his family been able to reach him. A few days after reaching the Gulf kingdom, he sent a message to inform that he had started a job. But no contact has been made since.
Limbu’s mother died taking her son’s name four years ago. Until her last breath, she kept crying to see her son’s face or hear his voice. But those cries did not reach Limbu. His wife Sanu Yonghang waited for years for him to come back. With her husband gone, Sanu went to live with her parents in Charpane, Jhapa and started a tea stall. She stayed faithful to him as long as she could but how long can a person be expected to live a lonely life? What is the point of marriage when the person you are married to is nowhere to be found? In need of care and support, Sanu remarried and adopted a new family. Limbu’s brother Bhawani used to work in Baglung but had to come home after his mother passed away. After all, he could not keep the house empty and locked. He wants to partition the ancestral property and utilise his share to work in his village. But his brother’s absence has hindered that too.
“We can’t partition the property without my brother’s presence to sign the paperwork,” he said. “I would give anything to have my brother with me again. The family has fallen apart and our economic condition has deteriorated.” Bhawani has tried multiple times to find the whereabouts of his brother but has failed to secure any leads so far. He does not even know whether Limbu is alive or not. Limbu went to Saudi Arabia in 2010 through Gulf Measurement Company Pvt. Ltd. to work as a cleaner. The company’s office is located in Samakhusi, Kathmandu and his work was handled by its local agent Nara Bahadur Limbu.
When contacted by The Rising Nepal, Nara Bahadur claimed that Limbu got the job he applied for but hesitated to say anything more. “I am just the local contact person. You have to contact the manpower company for information.” But the director of the company Suresh Karki said that Gulf Measurement could not do anything because Limbu’s family had not shown any interest. “They should come to the company and inform us in writing what the problem is which they have not done,” he said.
Sim Luitel, founder of the non-government organisation People Forum for Human Rights which provides legal counsel for the repatriation of Nepali immigrants facing problems abroad, urged Limbu’s family to register an official complaint against the manpower agency. He also said that his organisation would help the family in the legal process and work with the Embassy of Nepal in Saudi Arabia to look for Limbu. Meanwhile, Limbu’s family continues to hold out hope. His sisters Anita Subba and Kalpana Subba meet with journalists and activists almost every day, asking them to help find their brother.