HomeBlogsLet's not forget Sangeeta Richard in Indian diplomat uproar. #StandwithSangeeta
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Let’s not forget Sangeeta Richard in Indian diplomat uproar. #StandwithSangeeta

Devyani KhobragadeThis is getting hella crazy.

Protestors in Mumbai ransacked a Dominos Pizza venting their outrage at the American owned chain over the arrest, strip and cavity search of an Indian diplomat in New York, reports CBS.

Devyani Khobragade (pictured here) is accused of lying on a visa application and paying her maid about $3 an hour, way below the minimum wage .

Indian officials say Khobragade is protected under diplomatic immunity and should not have been treated like a common criminal.

US Federal authorities acknowledge they strip searched her, which they say is common practice, but deny conducting a cavity search.

Secretary of State John Kerry expressed regret about how Khobragade was handled, but defends the arrest.

The incident has put a spotlight on the way domestic workers are treated in India and has sparked a lively discussion on Twitter under the hashtag #StandwithSangeeta.

AsAmNews was the first to report on the hashtag Thursday night.

In a blog on the Huffington Post, Deepa Iyer, Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together, reports that Sangeeta Richard, is the maid of Devyani Khobragade, the arrested Indian diplomat. Iyer wrote:

Most media coverage about the case has been singularly focused on the Indian government’s response, which includes concerns over the alleged mistreatment of Ms. Khobragade during her arrest and interpretations of diplomatic immunity.

But, while we are waiting for additional details to emerge, let’s not forget who is at the heart of this case and what it represents more broadly. It’s about the rights of Sangeeta Richard, about the experiences of many domestic workers in similar situations in the United States, about the need for stronger immigration and labor laws, and about the responsibility that we have in standing with those in our own community who face workplace exploitation.

But that attention is slowly begin to shift, or at least the spotlight is broadening to include domestic workers.

The Globe & Mail reports there are 50 million domestic workers worldwide, mostly women.

“I think the bottom line is that the exploitation of the domestic worker – and abuses against millions of other domestic workers around the world – are being completely eclipsed here with the focus on the diplomat,” said Jo Becker of Human Rights Watch. “It’s understandable that people are shocked by the strip search. Even in the U.S., where it’s a routine policing practice, it’s a humiliating experience and it’s not surprising that people in India are shocked by it,”

Whether you believe Khobragade is a victim or a criminal, there is no arguing that Sangeeta is a victim here. If it is true she was being paid just more than $3 an hour for work in New York, more than 200 percent below the minimum wage, that is inexcusable. Unfortunately Sangeeta likely isn’t the only one in this situation.

When you #StandWithSangeeta, you are standing with other women in the US and around the world forced into similar conditions.

 

 

 

 

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