Devyani Khobragade’s father joins Congress, slams RPI for neglecting Dalit causes  | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Devyani Khobragade’s father joins Congress, slams RPI for neglecting Dalit causes 

Khobragade met Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi who inducted him in the party

mumbai Updated: Feb 10, 2018 01:16 IST
Naresh Kamath
Devyani Khobragade.
Devyani Khobragade.(PTI)

After working with Union minister Ramdas Athawale’s RPI-A, retired bureaucrat Uttam Khobragade, father of Indian Foreign Service officer Devyani who sparked a row between India and the United States in 2014, joined the Congress on Friday.

Khobragade met Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi who inducted him in the party. He had worked as executive national president of Republic Party of India (RPI-A).

Khobragade said he had taken the decision as he felt that the Congress was the only party that can save secularism. “Currently, the Congress is the only party which can counter the attack on secularism,” said Khobragade.

“Nowhere in the world does a man gets killed for what he cooks. Democracy and secularism are in danger, and only Congress can save them,” he added. He denied that he had sought some party post or ticket to contest elections.The former IAS officer retired in 2011.

He said he had not actively participated for the past two years owing to the silence of RPI leadership over atrocities against Dalits. “First, Rohit Vemula committed suicide, and after that Dalit intellectuals were systematically marginalised. The last straw was the Bhima-Koregaon violence. The RPI was not ready to raise its voice. This left me suffocated and I finally decided to quit RPI,” he said.

His daughter Devyani was at the centre of a diplomatic row between India and the US in 2013. She was arrested in New York on December 12 for alleged visa fraud and purportedly lying about her payments to her live-in domestic worker. She was serving as deputy consul general in New York. She was held with criminals. This move triggered a massive diplomatic row with the Indian government unleashing retaliatory measures such as downgrading American diplomats’ privileges. Both protracted negotiations, Devyani was asked to return to India.