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Over the past few days, any one switching on a news channel or opening a newspaper will have overdosed on the saga of Ms. Khobragade and her maid Ms. Richard. The facts of the case are now lost amidst the hoarse cries of fraud versus less pay and treatment of the employer as common criminal versus treatment of the Indian maidservant like …um…. an Indian maidservant.
Friends of Ms. K are now being interviewed to provide an added decibel level to the protests by the Indian Government. Some busybody has even interviewed the other Mrs. Richard (the mother-in-law, silly) for some (ha!) neutral perspective on the character of young Mrs. Richard. Meanwhile every politician and bureaucrat who has had tea with Ms.Khobragade’s bureaucrat-father-with-connections is coming out in her support. For some strange reason, we are asked to believe that the lady employer who has crores worth of property littered around the state is dependent on her pay-check to pay her the nanny.
Perhaps some of these bureaucrat gentlemen and ladies are also genuinely wondering if “Amrica–ki-posting” will be fun anymore, if they have do the choola-chowka-jhadoo-bartan at the humongous accommodation they might be staying in.
Mr. Bharara could not have timed this more perfectly for a hyperbolic outrage from the Mera Bharat Mahan Government of India. Trembling and jittery from its dismal showing in the regional polls, perchance clairvoyant about the results of the upcoming general elections and the sceptre of Aam Aadmi Party’s influence looming large, it needed to show some cojones to make up for the lack of them for past few years.
Forlorn at being pipped to the post, we have functionaries of opposition parties and every riff-raff who could get hold of a journo with a scribble-pad eagerly crying foul. The new credential for being patriotic is the shrillness with which the demand for apology from the U.S is being made.
The caste factor has reared its ugly head and we have had Mayawati talking about caste injustice. Wonder if they have sent sleuths to Punjab to dig up the caste antecedents of Mr. Bharara’s parents to introduce a new twist to this upper-caste-hates-lower-caste drama.
Let me clarify that I do indeed protest the treatment of Ms. Khobragade like a common criminal. It was over the top and completely unnecessary. Moreover, it presented the sadly unarmed Indian reactors a lathi to wave around.
But the visa fraud, signing of separate contracts with different amounts as salary and the maid’s long hours of work have to be legally dealt with regardless of her shifting and rapidly elevating status as a diplomat.
The unconditional shielding of U.S. diplomats is also being bandied about as the great example of double standards. Yes, I agree the U.S.A. is that Big Brother with double standards that the world has to put up with.
But anyone who reads the newspaper knows that the Adarsh Commission report that has been tabled, has named several prominent figures, bureaucratic and political, as the culprits (Ms. Khobragade is one of the beneficiaries) of a multi-crore scam. Far from asking for justice, the cabinet has summarily rejected the report without providing any reason for the same and the recently garrulous bureaucrats seem to be lost for words.
How’s that for double standards?
Indeed a case of the Indian pot calling the U.S kettle black!
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