It is a common practice among Indian diplomats to take maids along with them when they are posted abroad. The trend has triggered several controversies in the past, but it continues to be preferred for the sake of convenience.
India’s deputy consul general in New York Devyani Khobragade got into trouble after her maid complained that the diplomat was paying her less than the minimum wages stipulated under US visa requirements.
“This is an absurd situation. Our diplomats are not as well paid as some of their American and European counterparts. They need to understand where we come from,” said a former diplomat.
A former housekeeper had in 2011 sued India’s then consul general in New York Prabhu Dayal for intimidating her into forced labour. This was followed by Shanti Gurung, an Indian maid, winning a case in 2012 against Neena Malhotra, who was the press and culture counselor at the New York Consulate from 2006-2009.