Consulate Handcuffed and Racism Cry!

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New York City law enforcement arrested an elite Indian consulate officer, and that too a woman, and allegedly handcuffed and cavity-searched her.

And Indian media blew up in smokes! Even Indian government, an ardent and sycophant ally of the U.S., said (or attempted to say) stern words against such “injustice.” It is now a dinner-table discussion at every elite and privileged Indian home, in Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore or Calcutta. Maybe, even Benaras, Jaipur and Cuttack.

Suddenly, even the most average Indian is feeling a strange anti-U.S. anger in their stomach, thanks to this huge media story.

Sure, it was an injustice. Even though Devyani Khobragade, India’s deputy consul general in New York, was “arrested Thursday [December 12] outside of her daughter’s Manhattan school on charges that she lied on a visa application about how much she paid her housekeeper (U.S. prosecutors say the maid received less than $3 per hour for her work” — way below less than half of allowed minimum wages), but handcuffing her in public, and  strip searching and cavity-searching her in jail are unconscionable.

Indians have every right to be furious over such gross violation of human rights.

Problem is, these elite consulate officers, and Indian government and media houses that are now crying foul and slamming racism charges against the U.S. government NEVER speak a word when countless poor Indian immigrants go through such abusive treatment and flay of human rights across the U.S. on a daily basis.

Hotdog vendorTalk about the Indian restaurant cooks. Talk about the Indian maids. Talk about the construction helpers. Talk about the janitors. Talk about the taxi drivers. Talk about the fish scalers…meat cutters…delivery men…laundry men…hotdog vendors…grocery girls…

Now that a top consulate officer with the so-called diplomatic immunity got a taste of what the U.S. oppression is all about, everybody is screaming off their lungs. Even the Marxists and far right Shiv Sena rallied in various Indian cities to protest against “U.S. barbarism.”

Ah, those Marxists and far right Shiv Sena…! Fringe…really!

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I remember five or six years ago, Shah Rukh Khan, a famous Bollywood star got a taste of such treatment at JFK airport, and Indian media went berserk. I wrote an oped in a Bengal daily from Calcutta about that hypocrisy also. They — the daily Ekdin — even put it on their front page!

Plus, when did Indians earn the right to cry racism, period? Indians — Hindus and Muslims, at least the vast majority of them, both in India and USA, routinely call blacks names. Even today, Indians in general consider blacks as criminals, thanks to Bollywood and Hollywood junk movies and media stereotyping, and Indians’ own built-in racism against dark-skinned people (remember Gandhi’s anti-black rhetoric in South Africa?).

Indians living in the U.S. never want to talk, let alone know, their black neighbors or colleagues.

In my twenty-five years of living in the U.S., I have experienced countless experiences where Indians have made disparaging, obnoxious remarks about blacks in particular, and other minorities in general. Indians hate to live in a black-dominated neighborhood, such as Brooklyn in New York City, where we live.

I also remember about twenty years ago, a Congress Party prime minister P. V. Narasimha Rao, who was visiting the U.S. along with his diplomatic team, went to a lavish restaurant, and refused to be served by black waiters and waitresses.

Nobody called the Indian prime minister racist at that time.

detentionOf course, we all know how repressive, abusive and Kafkaesque U.S. law and order is. With the NSA scandal now breaking out more, we all know how Orwellian it is. I know very well. For years, I have worked as a post-9/11, grassroots community organizer especially with the South Asian, Muslim, Arab and Sikh immigrants of New York and New Jersey. I have seen how nightmarishly U.S. immigration and law enforcement picked up innocent men at gunpoint in the middle of the night — off their homes — and detained and deported them, tearing them apart from their wives and children.

That saga is still on. Obama government has deported a larger number of immigrants than Bush did.

These elite consulate officers, and their Indian governments and media did not cry foul at that time. And they’re not crying foul now.

In fact, they don’t even care.

Exposing another massive hypocrisy and double standard,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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