"Devyani's Law," new India-US treaty exempts diplomats from US labor law
(ACPA-New Delhi) The United States and India have announced a plan to end the standoff over the arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade who is accused of breaking US minimum wage and overtime law - Khobragade allegedly forced her maid to sign a contract agreeing to receive less than the legally mandated requirements. However, under the terms of the new Treaty, US-based diplomats from India will be exempted from US labor laws and will be allowed to treat their maids as they see fit. Best of all, charges against Devyani will be dropped.
"You might be asking yourself why the public in India is so upset over this case. Well, concepts such as minimum wages and getting paid for overtime, these are very much western ideas," said Dr. Asok Chadaran of the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad. "In India it is every man for himself. And maids aren't even men as you must realize. So the idea that they would have some rights, especially a western standard of rights is abhorrent to many people here. You get what you get and are grateful whether you are a maid or a child laborer in a Punjab brick making furnace; you just accept it."
Maid in America
"Well there is more to this than just the strange concept of labor rights," said Professor Subosh Ambrekar of the Mumbai School of Law. "The bizarre notion of treating people equally under the law is foreign here. Indians expect that when a rich or powerful person such as a diplomat commits a crime, then they will get away with it by paying a bribe. So, of course they are surprised that the diplomat would not be able to bribe US police officers and would instead be arrested and treated the same as anyone else who has broken the law in the US."
Meanwhile, Indian diplomats worldwide heaved a collective sigh of relief that escalating tensions have finally subsided. Rahul Singhal, a diplomat at the Indian embassy in Saudi Arabia spoke for many when he said: "It's the dream of every diplomat to get a US posting, but Krishna forbid that we would have to pay US salaries to a maid just because she is working in the US. She is Indian so she should be paid whatever we decide. Here in the Middle East we pay our Indian and Filipino maids whatever we want, why should that change just because we are in the US? Right? Achhaa bhai, achhaa.
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