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Indian Government’s Apathy towards Indian Workers’ Abroad: Delhi Protest Call by Domestic Workers Union

Khobragade’s Arrest: Labour Law Violation Issue, Not Foreign Policy Issue



19 December 2013

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Khobragade’s Arrest: Labour Law Violation Issue, Not Foreign Policy Issue



The Indian government’s reaction to the case of visa fraud and exploitation of her domestic worker against Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade in the United States is outrageous. In its dealing of the case, the Indian government is only seeking to protect the dignity and honour of Ms. Khobragade, and has shown a complete lack of respect for the underlying issue – that of the abuse and exploitation of a domestic worker by a senior official. What Ms. Khobragade has done is not an uncommon practice among diplomats and government officials. It is difficult to expose such crimes as domestic workers, in their vulnerable and terrified state, are unable to bring such employers to justice.
While the alleged strip search that Ms. Khobragade was subjected to is condemnable, the outrage over her arrest and mistreatment by officials cannot camouflage the deeper questions raised by the case. In only speaking up for the deputy consular general, the Indian government has belittled a grave and serious labour rights violation, and diverted attention to a foreign policy issue. India needs to be equally outraged for the plight of the exploited domestic worker, who is also an Indian citizen!

Join PROTEST DEMONSTRATION Against Indian Government’s Apathy towards Indian Workers’ Abroad Demanding Protection of Domestic Workers’ Rights

20th December, Friday 12 Noon Jantar Mantar

Gharelu Kamgar Sanghatan – Haryana
9891150783; 9871953579

Press Release

Khobragade’s Arrest: Labour Law Violation Issue, Not Foreign Policy Issue

Protest Demonstration Demanding Protection of Domestic Workers’ Rights

Gharelu Kaamgar Sangathan, Haryana


We express strong outrage at the Indian government’s reaction to the case of visa fraud and exploitation of her domestic worker against Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade in the United States. In its dealing of the case, the Indian government is only seeking to protect the dignity and honour of Ms. Khobragade, and has shown a complete lack of respect for the underlying issue – that of the abuse and exploitation of a domestic worker by a senior official. Ms. Khobragade’s father, Mr. Uttam Khobragade, is a politician and has a played a harmful role in suppressing the facts of the case and in diverting attention from it.



What Ms. Khobragade has done is not an uncommon practice among diplomats and government officials. It is difficult to expose such crimes as domestic workers, in their vulnerable and terrified state, are unable to bring such employers to justice. Minister Shashi Tharoor commented that Ms. Khobragade is being singled out. Instead of protecting such shameless employers, Minister Tharoor should be congratulating investigating agencies who have exposed this common practice.



While the alleged strip search that Ms. Khobragade was subjected to is condemnable, the outrage over her arrest and mistreatment by officials cannot camouflage the deeper questions raised by the case. In only speaking up for the deputy consular general, the Indian government has belittled a grave and serious labour rights violation, and diverted attention to a foreign policy issue. We believe India needs to be equally outraged for the plight of the exploited domestic worker, who is also an Indian citizen. The Indian government has turned a blind eye to similar cases before.



Media reports have only focused on interviewing Indian diplomats and officers and have not engaged with the domestic workers organisations in India. We strongly condemn the one-sided media reporting and the narrow-minded Indian government’s selfish protection of official employers of domestic workers. It has even been said that Ms. Khobragade was not paid enough to pay the domestic worker a decent wage. Ms. Khobragade and employers like her can ask for a salary raise or not hire a domestic worker if they cannot afford to pay for one.



We immediately demand:


  1. Prosecution of Ms. Khobragade to send a warning to other similar employers


  2. Indian government to publicly recognise that the rights of the domestic worker in question have been violated and ensure compensation to her and her family in India
  3. 

Enact a Comprehensive Legislation to protect the rights of domestic workers, as per various bills pending in Parliament


  4. Ratify the ILO Convention 189, Domestic Workers Convention 2011

We are organising a protest demonstration on Friday, December 20, 2013, from 12.00 p.m - 2.00 p.m at Jantar Mantar, to draw attention to the Indian government’s apathy to the plight of domestic workers’ abroad, and demand protection of domestic workers’ rights. 

In Solidarity,


Anannya Bhattacharjee, anannya48 at gmail.com, +91-9810970627

Gharelu Kaamgaar Sanghatan (GKS), Haryana

New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI)



December 19, 2013