In Part 1 and 2 of this story which appeared recently I tried to highlight corruption in India by showing how unfair “dollar payments” is a common thread in two cases involving Mukesh Ambani and Devyani Khobragade .
Reality Check :
My son who is preparing for his class eighth exam wanted me to explain `Equality` and `Justice`to him and it was difficult to simply explain this. What adds to the collective shame is the compulsion / the evil traditions to adopt compromising corrupt solutions. Just like our politicians, our investors and diplomats also live in a parallel bubble world with VIP privileges and birth rights. India has four sets of citizens – Devyani Khobragade vs Sangeeta Richard, a babysitter and Mukesh Ambani vs Common Man, the latter representing 80% of Indians.
The Aam Aadmi tolerates cheating as his pocket shrinks each day. Every person is looking for protection from unfair treatment. However, in the above cases one party is being blamed for speaking up while the other has been turned by the media-politician nexus into a heroine/hero, whose honour is tied up with India’s honour. The story of Ambani brothers reflects crony capitalism where the government is being commanded and has been transferring or removing ministers easily like a game of ‘musical chairs.’
The Devyani Saga
The Story is new no-more. It unfolds with Sangeeta Richard, the Indian national who was employed by Devyani Khobragade in America as a babysitter and housekeeper between November 2012 and June 2013. The `diplomat` Devyani did not pay legal wages, submitted false documents and then tried to blackmail the victim’s family by filing a case in the Delhi High Court. If Sangeeta Richard ‘stole’ money and a phone in US as the Indian embassy press release says, then a police case ought to have been filed in New York and not in Delhi, a city where Mrs. Khobragade has connections and influence.
— Open Magazine (@Openthemag) March 21, 2014
In New Delhi, Devyani lobbied and misused her post and succeeded in filing an IPC Section 420 ‘cheating”’complaint with the police on July 2nd 2013, then a FIR on July 5 saying Sangeeta was paid Rs.30000/- This was done anticipating a response from Delhi High Court thus blocking Ms. Richard from initiating legal action against the diplomat on U.S. soil. Devyani also committed a moral blunder by paying Sangeeta less than Rs.25000+5000 overtime which was less than the amount she promised to pay her even orally. This is precisely what officially the case is all about as `unconfirmed` sources say babysitter Sangeeta was paid only Rs.13000/- where the written contract as law is for 4500 USD. Devyani Khobragade was picked up in US from outside her daughter’s school for not paying Ms. Richard the legal minimum wage. She was humiliatingly handcuffed and strip-searched by women police — a violation of the Vienna Convention, which lays down the guidelines for how `diplomats` should be treated. Records later point out that she was a consulate worker and not a diplomat.
System of Protecting Lies :
While India has correctly objected to the treatment of its `diplomat`, it needs to address the fact that she broke the law of the host country in which she was posted. How much is the salary for a`diplomat` can be easily seen via Bank transactions of every Indian consulate and diplomat. This means US government knew in advance the pitfalls in the case and system. Every Indian diplomat abroad continues to tell the same lie, because none of them can afford to pay the local minimum wage when their own pay, even with the foreign allowance, is barely more than that. The victim and her family are still hiding in fear of retaliation.
— dna (@dna) March 15, 2014
Many Indians are working overtime today to expose the Ambani brothers loot behind this gas robbery and the Delhi electricity bills. VIP protection continues to damage the `pocket` and the modest survival of a common man. However the missing link is who paid the bail amount of 250,000 USD for jailed Devyani ?
At the airport or via media, awareness can easily spread. It is also the fault of host countries immigration rules as to why they fail in filtering overseas employees and keep their eyes closed till the whistle-blower forcefully appears to spill the beans. Ambassadors and High Commissioners even if honest are found turning their heads elsewhere as everyone knows the porous methodology the Indian investors and companies engage in.
Making Devyani-Sangeeta equation simple we see both women are wives, daughters and mothers, and both are concerned about their families. While the government-media nexus is seen expressing concern about the trauma of only one woman’s daughter and family, there is only anger against the other woman’s family. One is Aam aurat, while the other is a well-placed government official and a millionaire.
India has an ethical stand in the world as the country that won Independence from British colonialism through non-violence. Mahatma Gandhi demonstrated to the world that the means are as important as the end. We can only do so if we stand up for the “weak” and not just for the mighty and the powerful.
By Rakesh Manchanda
Image Source: Aam Aadmi Party@facebook