Alert: slave labour by Indian diplomat in Paris
14th Sep 1999 Premchand FAKUN @chello.be
I just wanted to alert interested readers that the French daily "LIBERATION" of last saturday carried an article exposing an Indian diplomat at the Indian Embassy in paris for having exploited a girl from Bihar. Described only as a Mr. L, he had taken the girl to paris, confiscated her passport and made her work from 6 am to midnight for nothing. She was only named as LALITA. The case was submitted to the police by an NGO. The girl ran away with a knife with the hope to commit suicide. Somebody rescued her, took her to a civic group who is now looking after her. The Embassy had asked police to send back the girl to the diplomat's place. What a scandalous behaviour. Can anybody alert the Indian authorities about this case? There are many of our diplomats who abuse our people like that. In his service since 18 years, the girl never went to school. Thank you for any follow up.
15th Sep 1999 S.Viswanathan @wanadoo.fr
This matter has been taken up by all the French media including the television. A report also appeared in the Times of India (I saw only the web page) where the name of the diplomat is mentioned, unlike in the French media. "Le Monde" dated 15/9/99 also gives details of genital mutilations which the girl has suffered. According to medical opinion, it is impossible for the wound to be self inflicted. The bone examination determines the age of the girl to be 17 while the age given in the passport is 19 1/2. The Press release from the Indian Embassy in Paris seems extremely clumsy and a total failure in damage control. It claims, among other things, that the wounds were inflicted while the girl was in French custody. I think the right thing to will be to waive diplomatic immunity and hand over the diplomat to French authorities for suitable legal action. Such a step can only enhance the image of India and repair some of the damage created. We have enough of maltreated children in India, we do not need to export such practices to other countries. Vishwa (in Paris)