The Indian community in the US is unhappy at the treatment meted out to Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade and feels very strongly that there was no need for her to be handcuffed or strip searched, says an Indian American delegate who is attending the annual diaspora convention here.
Mohan L. Jain, a delegate at the 12 Pravasi Bharatiya Divas that opened here Tuesday, told IANS: “Indians there did not like it (treatment meted out to Khobragade). Initially we did not have much information on the case and people (diaspora) said we should follow the US law.. But when they got information about the case, all said it should not have been done,” said Jain, trustee and founding president of India Development Coalition of America, that works with NGOs to help eradicate poverty in India.
Asked why India-born Manhattan Attorney Preet Bharara had taken such a tough stance against Khobragade, India’s deputy consul general in New York, Jain said “he might have something personal”.
“There was no need to treat her (envoy)like that. She is not a criminal, she was not running away, she does not have a criminal record. Why deal with her like that, or anyone else for that matter too,” said Jain, a regular at the PBDs. It is his 10th PBD summit, the world’s largest annual gathering of people of Indian origin. He has been living in the US for 42 years.
There are an estimated three million people of Indian origin in the US, having the highest median income and the highest levels of education among all immigrant groups.
Khobragade, 39, was arrested Dec 12 in New York on charges of making falsifying visa documents of her domestic help Sangeeta Richard and for underpaying her in violation of local labour laws. She was released on a $250,000 bail bond.
The incident led to tensions in India-US ties with India downgrading some of the privileges extended to US consular officials in India in reciprocal reprisal.