|Divayani Khobragade, Deputy Counsel General of Indian Consulate to USA|
Regarding human rights, India is one of those countries in which despite of claims of secularism and democracy, lower caste Hindus and minorities have nowhere to take refuge. These vulnerable segments of society remain unaware that for what crime Hindu extremists have attacked their dwelling places. Riots, murders and burning of property of lower caste Hindus are routine matters in India. Whole world is aware of atrocities committed in Indian Held Kashmir despite of ignorance and criminal silence of the international community. Especially regarding sexual torture, gang rapes and other crimes against women India stands in the top row, whether these are gang rapes by Indian soldiers in Indian Held Kashmir or other states fighting for their freedom or including New Delhi other big cities of India gang rapes of girls and murdering them after rape; after reading such tragic incidents one gets shocked that in todays developed era there is a country namely India where woman is still treated as “COMMODITY”.
But this does not mean that one should remain silent over the insult and inhuman treatment of an Indian woman in USA. This is not the insult of just an Indian woman but of the whole humanity (that is a routine matter in those areas under control of US and Western Invading forces like Iraq, Afghanistan etc.). Such an inhuman treatment of a woman in the hands of a nation that claims to be the torch bearer and protector of human rights all over the world. Indian Deputy Counsel General may have been arrested out of her house but her arrest out of her children’s school in Manhattan at such a time when she arrived there to drop her daughter at school. There cannot be something more insulting to a mother that she is arrested in front of her daughter and other children and handcuffed like culprits without considering that what would be the impact on the innocent mind of her daughter especially when her class-fellows will question her that what the crime of her mother was.
In the morning of 11 December 2013, Divyani Khobragade, Deputy Counsel General of Indian Consulate at USA was arrested by New York Police and took her to Police Station. In the Police Station 3 American Police Men stripped her nude in front of other police men in order to body search her; in the way she was forced to lay on the floor naked in front of so many men makes one feel ashamed. The most painful aspect is that whole of this procedure was filmed as well in which cries of a powerless can be heard as well. After watching this clip one gets a touch of the real American culture and the scene of old “Cow Boy” films comes into the mind in which such scenes were often included in which few American boys abduct a lonely women and strip and rape her for enjoyment. The video regarding naked body and cavity search of Indian diplomat has been telecasted by CNN.
Arrest of Indian diplomat in USA, the rift created in between US-Indian relations, American stubbornness to punish Indian diplomat at all costs, order of Indian govt. to remove all facilities given to US diplomats in India for which US diplomats are not entitled and removal of concrete blocks outside of US Embassy placed for security purposes by Indian officials is not so simple as it appears. The intensity tension in US-India relations could be imagined from the statement of US Foreign Ministry after arrival of Divayani to India that allegations against Divayani are still present; after arrival in India her diplomatic immunity has come to end so her arrest warrants can be issued any time. Interesting fact is that husband of Divayani, Akash Rathore is an Indian borne US citizen and now a days teaching in University of Pennsylvania as Professor. Divayani alone has returned to India, her both children are living in USA along with their father.
Divayani is facing charges of harassment and telling lie regarding the per hour charges she paid to her maid. Here the question arises, are these charges so much serious that US Officials created such a big heck? Or there are other facts behind all this abuse of a female in the hands of Americans that are still veiled. We will discuss these facts later, I would like to summarize the missing of Divayani’s maid, FIR registered against her in India and how she reached USA which are much complicated as well as interesting.
39 years old Diavayani joined Indian Foreign Services in 1999. Her father Utam Khobragade also belongs to “DMG” group and her family has long relations with Indian Bureaucracy. Divayani requested a visa to US embassy in November 2012 for her 42 year old maid Sangeeta belonging to Kerala; US embassy issued A-3 visa to Sangeeta which allowed her to visit and stay anywhere in USA. Sangeeta’s husband Philip works in Mozambique’s embassy in New Delhi as driver while Philip’s father is an old employee of US embassy in India and Philip’s mother had been also working as maid of Senior US Diplomat from 2002 to 2007.
So on the one hand there is Khobragade family belonging to Indian bureaucracy and on the other hand there is Sangeeta’s family working in different embassies for long time. Approximately 2 months before her arrest in New York Divayani contacted Court in New Delhi and registered a case against Sangeeta that she has been missing since 21st June 2013 but US govt. is not providing her any help to locate her maid. Indian Court issued arrest warrants of Sangeeta (Divayani’s maid) to US embassy so that US govt. should arrest and handover her to Indian govt. on 10 December 2013, Sangeeta’s husband Philip along with his two children arrives USA on T-Visa to search for her wife. Interesting fact is that all expenses of boarding and lodging of Philip are borne by USA; on 2nd day of Philip’s arrival Divayani is arrested, stripped and cavity searched by American policemen; protests in India over abuse and harassment of their diplomat was natural.
Indian govt. bans beauty Parlour, Restaurant, Bowling Club and all other business activities in US embassy at New Delhi and demands details of income of spouses of US Embassy diplomats from jobs in India along with taxes paid to Indian govt. All this was reaction to Divayani’s abuse in USA. However, from this a shocking reality was revealed that despite being only Super Power of the World how much USA is deprived of moral and diplomatic values. USA does not care about the culture and cultural values of other nations nor she considers herself bound by diplomatic rules and regulations. Americans that commit act of murder or terrorism in any country, USA will never let the law of that country bring Americans to trial.
What would be more shameful aspect than this that despite of taking handsome of salary and luxuries, spouses of US diplomats converted US embassy in beauty parlor and other business activities but they are also involved in providing service to different schools etc. for heavy salaries; the income collected from such activities were either not known to the host country or everyone closed their eyes closed in order to fulfill friendship with USA. Of course, including Pakistan in many other countries such activities in US embassies would be going on as well. Although this is internal affair of every country but is not this duality of standards that for the charges for which Divayani was subject to such brutal insult; American diplomats are involved in all such atrocities considering them as their right?
Divayani had arrived home, the rift between USA and India over Divayani’s will also subside with passage of time but during all this US resources have alleged that Divayani was working as operator of RAW under the garb of a diplomat. Although Indian and American media had avoided discussing such allegations; Pakistani media also did not felt any need to go for the reason behind it. The rift between USA and India mutual partners over South Asia especially Afghanistan is of grave significance for which an Indian women was sacrificed.
However, Indians should have realized that Americans are friends of no one; Americans can make one father of their nation on need and after fulfillment of purpose they will destroy their own heroes. So India in spite of becoming a dispensable tool in the hands of America to fulfill her dream of becoming the Don of Asia, should consider rights of her neighboring countries and pay attention to resolve problems created by herself…
Written by Khalid Baig,
Published in Daily Nawa-i-Waqt,
Date: 17 January 2014.