Its open season for all on Devyani



I was wondering when someone would bring up the fact that India’s deputy consul general in New York, Devyani Khobragade is of Dalit origin – and right on cue it did not take very long for Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati who to play the gallery to reinforce her constituency just ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in the country.

Mayawati believes the UPA’s slow response to Devyani’s arrest in the United States was because she was a Dalit though there are many others who would suggest the opposite – that the government is acting unusually tough precisely because of her background. But neither Devyani nor her father Uttam Khbraade, a high profile IAS officer of the Maharashtra cadre ever felt the need to emphaisise their origins in either Mr Khobragade’s long career in the state or even when Devyani first topped the MBBS exams nd then came through with flying colours at the civil services competition,

Kohbragade was justifiably proud of his high achieving daughter and when she was in Paksitan had spoken to some of us about how well she had distinguished herself in her job. But Devyani’s not the first woman dalit IFS officer – speaker Meira Kumar was there before her – nor is she likely to be the last, so I don’t see any reason for the former UP chief minister to unnecessarily accord a caste colour to the contretemps.

Though I am pretty sure that officials in the United States might have been taken aback by the ferocity of India’s response to the humiliation that Devryani was put through, I think it is a bit silly for the saffron forces to target Dominos Pizza outlets or even for Yashwant Sinha to ask for the arrest of gay couples working at the American embassy in New Delhi because homosexuality has been re-criminalised in India, It only shows us how poor the opposition’s intellect is in dealing with situations of such international ramifications and I am pleasantly stunned and surprised by the UPA’s responses in both the Devryani imbroglio and the outlawing of LGBTs by the Supreme court last week — even if it does seem like the closing elections have given the UPA a spine it did not have before.

I have also seen many responses of citizens as well as some media pe

persons lamming Devyani for owning flats n the infamous Adarsh society but any child even should be able to work out the fact that she was not involved in any scam in obtaining the flats but perhaps benefitted by being just her father’s daughter. Several IAS officers and politicians, including former BJP president Nitin Gadkari;s close associates. are said to own benami flats in he society and it is no doubt a scam of the greatest proportion possible that definitely needs diligence in its probe. But that does not make Devyani corrupt nor can one accuse her of human trafficking as some activists are now tending to do.

However, I will not be surprised if the saffron forces now escalate the war against American interests in India for that has always been their philosophy – they believe they arw the custodians of everything Indians – and particularly Hindus eat, drink or wear. I remember some Bajrang Dal workers giving me some bizarre explanations several years ago of how insidious the Americans were being by opening such outlets in India – one of them even suggested that beef burgers were being used to mask poisoning by anthrax. When I asked how on earth that was possible, he said, they use infected animals to make the beef burgers and even suggested the animals were deliberately infected by the bacillus in order to kill off Indians. I checked – beef burgers were never on the mrnu of any of such outlets.

However, it is quite apparent that people like Pravin Togadia need no excuse to set the ball rolling against anything and everything they see as invading the Indian culture and Devyani’s arrest in New York comes as a godsend just before the Lok Sabha elections.

Nevertheless it seems it is open season for everyone, including the US district attorney who obviously has electoral ambitions of his own, vis-a-vis Devyani – now if the Americans believe she was exploiting her domestic help, I would like to know how many Indian employees at American consulates and information centres across India draw the minimum wage afforded to employees by their government. I have many friends in such places and while they earn substantial amounts including perks, I can be sure they are far below the minimum wages offered in the United States.

I believe they should fix that first before casting another stone at any Indian, Devyani or anybody else. And the government of India would be bê better advised to press on that nerve to straighten out things between them rather than just removing some barricades or denying permssions to import foreign liquor. We have the ideal opportunity to hold the mirror up to th Americans and expose their hypocrisy.

As for Devyani, I am sure she is headed for a great political career back home even if Preey Barara does or not make it to the US Congress as he would have wished!a

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  • Guest

    So out of all the Khemka’s and Durga Shakti’s we found this Devyani and her corrupt family (who also happen to be habitual liers as it is emerging) to represent us in front of the greatest nation on the planet! Now the entire corrupt establishment is rising up to defend one of their own even if it comes at the cost of defaming India and Indians in the world.

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  • nd chandruka

    I wish Indirajee is back to take a tough stand with Big brother, who committed three wrong doings in this case.
    1 Sangeeta being an India citizen after revocation of her passport became an illegal person and giving her and her family evacuting after receiving Court orders in INdia.
    2.Arrest and mistreatment of Divyani.
    3. Expression of regret deos mean that Kerry admits wrong doing, but its arrogance to make fun of Indian Courts and its obstinacy of correcting the wrong doing by revocking the case against Divayani and sending Back Sangeeta and her family to face charges in India Courts.
    Had Indira jee been the PM today, Big Brother would not have behaved in this manner, which has been enhanced after BUSH, who had better understanding with India.

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  • Piyush Desai

    Doesn’t anybody in India talk about the maid servant–Indian definitely and possibly even Dalit ? Are the overwhelming concerns reserved only for a wealthy Dalit lady ?

    From what one can surmise, the maid servant found out that US laws permit her to earn higher wages than what she received. And she acted bold enough to do something about securing the rights conferred upon her by the country she was in. Some may regard this as “not fair”; but Is this something terrible ?

    It is also clear that some irregularities–technical from Indian stand point but serious illegal act under US law–were committed when incorrect information was provided in the visa application. The least one must accept is that this should be investigated.

    Finally, I would urge all agitated Indians that there are two Indians involved in this case. Let it not appear to outside observers that Indians would only sympathize with the elite master rather than the maid “servant”.

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  • Rocky

    Why should the US consulates pay min US wage to its employees in other countries? Thank God that they pay far above the locally prevailing minimum wage to their Indian staff. As far as Preet Bharara is concerned, here is a typical case of a new convert who is trying to show that he is more brutal with his own people than what he does with people from his adopted country. Davyani and her dad are typical beneficiaries of a rigged Indian selection system where low caste certificate can be purchased. How can daughter of an IAS officer still claim the special benefits meant for the downtrodden? This reverse discrimination needs to stop.

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  • Rocky

    Why should the US consulates pay min US wage to its employees in other countries? Thank God that they pay far above the locally prevailing minimum wage to their Indian staff. As far as Preet Bharara is concerned, here is a typical case of a new convert who is trying to show that he is more brutal with his own people than what he does with people from his adopted country. Davyani and her dad are typical beneficiaries of a rigged Indian selection system where low caste certificate can be purchased. How can daughter of an IAS officer still claim the special benefits meant for the downtrodden? This reverse discrimination needs to stop.

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  • madan lal gupta,Harianawala

    U S does not care. U S has one law for everyone, whereas India has different laws for different people, Caste, religion, Minority, Politicians, Bahubali, actors, bureaucrats. Devyani must have paid minimum wages to her domestic help + 1 1/2 for Saturday + 2 times for Sunday. In India she could kick a maid if she ask for wages, but in USA, she cannot escape w/o paying full dues or face the regular jail. In US the DSP will not wash her feet. She will be locked with other criminals, she cannot enjoy the White House prison. It is very strange that the Consulate office in USA is silent, because they know the US law. This is message to the Indian bureaucrats abroad, make sure to pay full wages to the maids or learn to clean your toilet, dishes, wash clothes etc. by yourself, instead of PROMISING A GREEN CARD. madan lal gupta, harianawala

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  • madan lal gupta,Harianawala

    U S does not care. U S has one law for everyone, whereas India has different laws for different people, Caste, religion, Minority, Politicians, Bahubali, actors, bureaucrats. Devyani must have paid minimum wages to her domestic help + 1 1/2 for Saturday + 2 times for Sunday. In India she could kick a maid if she ask for wages, but in USA, she cannot escape w/o paying full dues or face the regular jail. In US the DSP will not wash her feet. She will be locked with other criminals, she cannot enjoy the White House prison. It is very strange that the Consulate office in USA is silent, because they know the US law. This is message to the Indian bureaucrats abroad, make sure to pay full wages to the maids or learn to clean your toilet, dishes, wash clothes etc. by yourself, instead of PROMISING A GREEN CARD. madan lal gupta, harianawala

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  • gautam

    “Devyani for owning flats n the infamous Adarsh society but any child even should be able to work out the fact that she was not involved in any scam in obtaining the flats but perhaps benefitted by being just her father’s daughter. Several IAS officers and politicians, including former BJP president Nitin Gadkari;s close associates. are said to own benami flats in he society and it is no doubt a scam of the greatest proportion possible that definitely needs diligence in its probe. But that does not make Devyani corrupt”

    what is the author proposing here? Both Devyani and her father did not know that they were ineligible for the adarsh flat or is it being suggested that they were eligible? Then follows a comparison with nitn gadkari’s associate .. is this proof by similie…? Then follows a judgement…that she is not corrut because she was her father’s beneficiary (lol and how?) and nitin’s associates were also involved…(bigger lol) ….

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  • gautam

    “Devyani for owning flats n the infamous Adarsh society but any child even should be able to work out the fact that she was not involved in any scam in obtaining the flats but perhaps benefitted by being just her father’s daughter. Several IAS officers and politicians, including former BJP president Nitin Gadkari;s close associates. are said to own benami flats in he society and it is no doubt a scam of the greatest proportion possible that definitely needs diligence in its probe. But that does not make Devyani corrupt”

    what is the author proposing here? Both Devyani and her father did not know that they were ineligible for the adarsh flat or is it being suggested that they were eligible? Then follows a comparison with nitn gadkari’s associate .. is this proof by similie…? Then follows a judgement…that she is not corrut because she was her father’s beneficiary (lol and how?) and nitin’s associates were also involved…(bigger lol) ….

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  • Joe

    It is criminal the way Devyani was treated and it is extremely shameful for India . Now lets see if India can stand up for their rights or will run away like a ***

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  • Joe

    It is criminal the way Devyani was treated and it is extremely shameful for India . Now lets see if India can stand up for their rights or will run away like a ***

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  • Anonymous

    I read in newspapers that Republican party staged demonstration opposie Domino’s Pizza. Also other news item points out to fact by enquiry commission that on her affidivet she said she don’t own a flat in Mumbai but she owned one.
    Both items above are from to-day’s news papers.
    Regards.

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  • SG

    You are comparing apples and oranges. Devyani was arrested for not paying the salary she said she would pay her servant in USA. She said she would pay American wages in America but did not do that. You are asking how many Americans in India pay American wages for their domestic help in India. That is not a good comparison.

    Since she was required to pay the wage of the land, Americans also should be required to pay the wage of the land, i.e. India. If they pay less than what any Indian maids get paid in India, they should be arrested.

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  • Anonymous

    I find it rather strange when this writer states that “she benefitted with the flat because she was her fathers daughter” Really now – this is an independent government servant, a high profile one at that and she just got a flat in Adarsh Society without her knowing ?? It just dropped into her lap and it was worth millions. She is fully responsible for the acquisition and the illegality of it as she is in the maid episode. Its a personal responsibility. India embassy staff here may have diplomatic privileges but they cannot violate US law.

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  • trambgooti

    What is good for Americans is good for world you are with us or you are against us

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  • http://www.facebook.com/swamyg.swamyg.3 Swamy G

    Dear Sujata, you say: “… he was not
    involved in any scam in obtaining the flats but perhaps benefitted by
    being just her father’s daughter”. True. But it does not take a IFS officer, MBBS Gold Medalist to see that if you benefit from a corrupt practice, even if you did not directly indulge in it, it is wrong. How about this: she owns three flats plus agricultural lands in three different states. She has never held a job other than her IFS job. Lesser mortals like me are unable to understand what could be sources of income for such affluence from a 39 year old IFS officer.

    You also write: “I would like to know how many Indian employees at American consulates and information centres across India draw the minimum wage afforded to employees by their government”. Last time we heard journalism was something that held facts sacred. You are guessing here. Give us some facts – tell us examples of where they are breaking an Indian law by paying someone they employ here in India below Indian wages. For your reference, under the current Indian laws, the minimum wage per month in your state of Maharashtra works out be Rs 9560/- per month and in Delhi where the main US consulate officers reside is even lower: Rs 6560/- pm. Go figure. Any person is bound by the laws of the country of he is stationed at that time. This does not change whether it is a US consulate worker in India or Ms Khobragade working US. US has a minimum wage law and if she did not follow that, then she is in breach of law. Period.

    I digress. There are two issues here: first whether US did not treat her with dignity. You could debate that issue. Second, did she break US laws while she was in US? That is not for you or I: it is for courts to decide. All fair-minded can agree that US courts are at least as good as Indian courts when it comes to dispensing justice. (By the way, did you notice the fate of the Adarsh Housing Society enquiry report yesterday?)

    Come to think of it, if US wants to stick out for Ms Khobragade’s former maid, there is very little you can say against that, as long as they are transparent about the way they go about it, what reason do we have to oppose it?

    But Sujata, the likes of Khobragade who now have become powerful, affluent and successful for generations could do without your support. But the likes of the under paid, exploited maids of the world could use your (and more) help. How about paying some attention to that side of the story?
    - SwamyG

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  • Shadaan

    All persons
    have the same qualitative make-up; we are born equal in this respect, as
    recognized in the values of ‘Liberty, Fraternity, Equality.’ All human beings
    have the same reflexes, instincts, drives, needs, capacities, and rights; all
    have the same powers of perception, discrimination, attentiveness,
    retentiveness, reasoning, and so forth. The differences between persons are
    quantitative rather than qualitative. ‘Equality’ is to do with our qualities
    and our rights, which we all share, but not the degree to which they are
    developed or expressed. Why even bring the issue of caste, aren’t all humans
    and equal. Calling other people lower caste is stupid and cruel. Indians should
    stop this stupidity, what century are they living in?

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  • Zakir Hasan

    India infuriated the matter in such a height; it seems a war is broken out. NYPD did everything as per law. Diplomatic immunity does not cover exploitation of maid in USA law. This sort of incidence happened many
    times in diplomatic community abroad, maids are under paid and over worked beyond their job agreement. Devyani Khabragade is under diplomatic immunity but another Indian national Sangeeta (the maid) getting her legal protection under US law.

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  • Zakir Hasan

    India infuriated the matter in such a height; it seems a war is broken out. NYPD did everything as per law. Diplomatic immunity does not cover exploitation of maid in USA law. This sort of incidence happened many
    times in diplomatic community abroad, maids are under paid and over worked beyond their job agreement. Devyani Khabragade is under diplomatic immunity but another Indian national Sangeeta (the maid) getting her legal protection under US law.

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  • Guest

    Of the many issues this case has thrown up, criticising Preet Bharara for doing his job honestly and zealously is the least credible. If he has political ambitions, let that play out in due course. That does not diminish the seriousness of the charges, perjury having got a President impeached.
    Second, it is a fallacy to argue that Americans ought to pay $ 9.75 per hour to maids working in their homes in Delhi because their embassy is sovereign US territory. They are following local laws, as our diplomat solemnly promised to while seeking a visa for her maid.

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  • Guest

    Of the many issues this case has thrown up, criticising Preet Bharara for doing his job honestly and zealously is the least credible. If he has political ambitions, let that play out in due course. That does not diminish the seriousness of the charges, perjury having got a President impeached.
    Second, it is a fallacy to argue that Americans ought to pay $ 9.75 per hour to maids working in their homes in Delhi because their embassy is sovereign US territory. They are following local laws, as our diplomat solemnly promised to while seeking a visa for her maid.

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  • Concerned Indian

    Sujata Anandan has penned a very balanced response to the Devyani imbroglio.
    Majority of Indians living in the west make do without the luxury of full time domestic help. They clean their own toilets, scrub their bath tubs, cook and clean their kitchens and do all such chores that middle class Indians in India asssign to an under class of other Indians known as domestic servants.

    We need to change our mindset and learn to give living wages to our domestic help and not exploit their economic hardship.

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  • Concerned Indian

    Sujata Anandan has penned a very balanced response to the Devyani imbroglio.
    Majority of Indians living in the west make do without the luxury of full time domestic help. They clean their own toilets, scrub their bath tubs, cook and clean their kitchens and do all such chores that middle class Indians in India asssign to an under class of other Indians known as domestic servants.

    We need to change our mindset and learn to give living wages to our domestic help and not exploit their economic hardship.

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  • Anonymous

    One can make all he excuses in the world, but knowingly preparing two affidavits and making false Visa declarations by a seasoned diplomat is pretty dumb. If India wants such a woman at the helm of foreign office then god help the country. Because this dumb diplomat will do stupid things.

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  • Anonymous

    One can make all he excuses in the world, but knowingly preparing two affidavits and making false Visa declarations by a seasoned diplomat is pretty dumb. If India wants such a woman at the helm of foreign office then god help the country. Because this dumb diplomat will do stupid things.

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  • rab

    If the American Democracy functioned like Indian Democracy, then we would have two justice system, one for the rich and privileged and the other for weak and powerless. Obama would call the Preet Bharara and chapter would be closed. But India fails to understand that the State Department, the Justice Department, INS etc.. are all ‘very independent’ establishments and have no say, let alone control over the other. It is foolish to ask for an apology, But hypothetically speaking let us say it did..Two things will happen, The American Media (Which is largely silent and ignored) will pounce on the State Department/Obama, let alone republicans and then India would be making a mockery of itself (It already is, but to a lesser extent only because the mainstream media has not taken up this news like India has)..

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  • rab

    If the American Democracy functioned like Indian Democracy, then we would have two justice system, one for the rich and privileged and the other for weak and powerless. Obama would call the Preet Bharara and chapter would be closed. But India fails to understand that the State Department, the Justice Department, INS etc.. are all ‘very independent’ establishments and have no say, let alone control over the other. It is foolish to ask for an apology, But hypothetically speaking let us say it did..Two things will happen, The American Media (Which is largely silent and ignored) will pounce on the State Department/Obama, let alone republicans and then India would be making a mockery of itself (It already is, but to a lesser extent only because the mainstream media has not taken up this news like India has)..

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  • Girish

    Since I see this issue brought up several places: I am not sure why Indian employees at American consulates should be paid American wages – they reside in India and as such should be paid an amount greater that Indian minimum wages. Now if these employees moved to the US; they would be pain US wages. Am I missing something?!

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  • Paul Gerard

    “Nevertheless it seems it is open season for everyone, including the US district attorney who obviously has electoral ambitions of his own, vis-a-vis Devyani – now if the Americans believe she was exploiting her domestic help, I would like to know how many Indian employees at American consulates and information centres across India draw the minimum wage afforded to employees by their government. I have many friends in such places and while they earn substantial amounts including perks, I can be sure they are far below the minimum wages offered in the United States.”

    Forgive me, but I am not sure what you’re trying to say here. If you are saying that “information centers,” call centers and other “help desks” outsourced from the US to India are paying wages commensurate for those jobs in India instead of the US, then I have no doubt that you are correct. What are you really saying that the US companies that one subsidiaries in India should pay US minimum wage in India? Would not that defeat the purpose of moving to jobs to India in the first place? And deprive Indians of those jobs? Also, if these companies are breaking Indian law, they should be prosecuted. If not, what is your point?

    Moreover, to bring up another point, I cannot understand the Indian outrage that the US attorney of Indian descent who is prosecuting the case is somehow a “traitor to India.” I have read this in India media. That is an outrage for a distinguished lawyer who may, indeed, have political ambitions but, otherwise, is just doing his job. The matter of his Indian heritage as you well know is irrelevant in the US.

    Finally, I would ask you to educate yourself and you would find out that Indians in America have the highest median wage of any ethnic subgroup including Jews, Chinese, and Japanese persons, are three times more likely to have a baccalaureate degree than the average American, and more than half of Indians in America occupy managerial or supervisorial positions in business. I would recommend to you the recently published book “The Billionaire’s Apprentice: the Rise of the Indian-American Elite in the Fall of the Galleon Fund” by Anita Raghaven.

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  • Paul Gerard

    “Nevertheless it seems it is open season for everyone, including the US district attorney who obviously has electoral ambitions of his own, vis-a-vis Devyani – now if the Americans believe she was exploiting her domestic help, I would like to know how many Indian employees at American consulates and information centres across India draw the minimum wage afforded to employees by their government. I have many friends in such places and while they earn substantial amounts including perks, I can be sure they are far below the minimum wages offered in the United States.”

    Forgive me, but I am not sure what you’re trying to say here. If you are saying that “information centers,” call centers and other “help desks” outsourced from the US to India are paying wages commensurate for those jobs in India instead of the US, then I have no doubt that you are correct. What are you really saying that the US companies that one subsidiaries in India should pay US minimum wage in India? Would not that defeat the purpose of moving to jobs to India in the first place? And deprive Indians of those jobs? Also, if these companies are breaking Indian law, they should be prosecuted. If not, what is your point?

    Moreover, to bring up another point, I cannot understand the Indian outrage that the US attorney of Indian descent who is prosecuting the case is somehow a “traitor to India.” I have read this in India media. That is an outrage for a distinguished lawyer who may, indeed, have political ambitions but, otherwise, is just doing his job. The matter of his Indian heritage as you well know is irrelevant in the US.

    Finally, I would ask you to educate yourself and you would find out that Indians in America have the highest median wage of any ethnic subgroup including Jews, Chinese, and Japanese persons, are three times more likely to have a baccalaureate degree than the average American, and more than half of Indians in America occupy managerial or supervisorial positions in business. I would recommend to you the recently published book “The Billionaire’s Apprentice: the Rise of the Indian-American Elite in the Fall of the Galleon Fund” by Anita Raghaven.

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  • Trisul

    India was booted out of Olympics due to corrupt officials; and now again India is defending Devyani and her father Uttam who obtained Adarsh flats meant for Military widows.
    In a visa application, in the signature box, one takes an oath for true facts, before signing. Devyani “Senior Diplomat of India” did not hesitate to sign for false statements i.e. Visa Fraud. How can I trust her OR any other high ranking Diplomat from India when they lie without batting an eye.

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