Devyani Khobragde,an Indian Foreign Service Officer posted as Deputy Consul General in Consulate General of India in New York was accused by the US government of not providing minimum wages to her Indian domestic help and forcing her to work more than 40 hours a week. She was also accused of visa fraud to get the domestic help into the US. She was arrested, while she was dropping her daughter off to school. According to the Indian government, she was had cuffed, strip-searched, cavity searched and placed in a cell with drug addicts despite of other cells being available before being released on a bail of $250,000. India’s national security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon has called the treatment ‘despicable and barbaric’.
This resulted in an outrage in the upper house of the Indian Parliament (Rajya Sabha). Different member expressed their anger over the humiliation of a 39 year old diplomat, differently. While, Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid, called all this as a conspiracy and promised that he will not return to the parliament until and unless Ms. Khobragde’s dignity is restored and justice been delivered.
Arun Jaitley, blamed the stand of India in international realm as responsible for this whole issue. He suggested upon the changes in foreign policy of India wherein the country will not be treated as an inferior and would not be taken for granted. His idea is that India should have a stern position in international realm and an equal status visa vis other countries, rather that of an inferior.
Bhujan Samaj Party Chief Mayawati showed her full and loyal support to the Dalit diplomat.
The US though externally expressing its concern about the relation between Indian and US, did not see their conduct as inappropriate and did not express any apology as demanded by India
Certain retaliatory measures were taken by India including the removal of police barricades in front of US embassy, the US Diplomats and their families have been asked to surrender their airport passes.
Reacting to these measures Marie Harf, the US State Department spokesperson said “an isolated relationship should not impact the bilateral relationship between India and the US’. She also said that the US govt is looking into the matter to ensure that all the legal procedures were maintained by the US State diplomatic security during the arrest and as of now she sees nothing but the adoption of correct measures by the US. Although she couldn’t speak for the US Marshals who took the diplomat into custody, however later on the US Marshal Service confirmed that standard and correct procedures were indeed adopted
Irony, here being that, Harf expressed her concern about the security and well being of US diplomats in India after the adoption of retaliatory measures by India where as when India is speaking up on the same issue, USA is expecting India to ensure and fulfil the obligations under Vienna convention on diplomatic relations and Vienna convention of Consular Relation.
This particular scenario adds on to the ongoing problems between India and US. But, here, we can say that as a government and as a protector of its citizens India has taken a very good stand by supporting its diplomat. But is really the 39 year old diplomat a victim here? Even she is not totally innocent, if the accusations put on her by US are true and legitimate then we can say she has brought back the slave culture that was abolished back in 19th century. Just because someone is a high government dignitary they cannot exploit and torture domestic helps and then expect to come out of it easily. What actually happened, and what is the truth is yet to be presented before us.
Is the concern of Indian govt genuine or is it just another govt mockery.?Everyone is seeing the diplomat as a victim here, as the one who has suffered, but everyone is ignoring the other side of the story, the story of the ‘nanny’ who might have been treated so callously that the word victim would itself be an understatement.