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Millennium Post

Incomplete relief

Although dismissal of visa fraud charges against Devyani Khobragade by a US court comes as a breather to India, there’s much that remains unaddressed still. The diplomat’s contentious arrest and subsequent strip-search had put the spotlight on several irregularities, both in terms of procedural lapses on the part of consular officers, as well as the multiple standards deployed by the US government when it comes to dealing with foreign diplomats. While the US had put forward a case of upholding the law of the land, the fact remains that Washington is extremely hypocritical and mostly reluctant in meting out the same treatment to diplomats from Euro-American nations. There could be a laundry list of diplomatic breaches that happened under US government’s oversight, but Washington is clearly unwilling to own up to those allegations. Given that Khobragade’s until now has only been a partial victory, with the removal of visa fraud charges only so far, whether or not she regains full diplomatic immunity still remains debatable. On the other hand, what made the US court suddenly change its track and dismiss charges against the Indian counsel after the diplomatic row brought bilateral relations between the two countries to a standstill, is also subject to conjecture. And although the verdict would come as a relief for Khobragade’s family, it should not take focus away from the plight of domestic helps in South Asian households worldwide.
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