The New York Police have not crowned themselves with glory in handling the Devyani Khobragade case. India will have to take into account that the various freedoms in the land of liberty are just a figment of the imagination. Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar’s move to cancel her meeting in Delhi with a U.S. Congressional delegation (Dec. 17) is welcome. Let us hope that the incident is an aberration and saner elements in U.S. public life will prevail. I am not passing judgment on the guilt or innocence of Ms Khobragade; the law will look into it. But handcuffing a woman not involved in a case of violence, and in front of schoolchildren, is unpardonable.

V.R. Lakshminarayanan, Chennai

The Khobragade case should be viewed in the larger context. Visa regulations for overseas employees are imposed to protect the local labour market. It is not uncommon for Indian companies (at least, in the past) to pay employees a salary different from the one stated in the visa application. Such practice does not stem from a profit-making motive but driven by market realities of the nature of employment and the country of origin. In this situation, the domestic help was not a mainstream U.S. employee but an imported employee on a temporary contract to carry out a specific task.

Above all, it is common for Americans to employ migrant Hispanics (mostly illegal) at less than minimal wages in the domestic and industrial context. Therefore, arresting Ms Devyani appears unwarranted.

Siva Sivasubramanian, NSW, Australia

When will Indians understand that in some countries labour laws cannot be challenged and that much thought has gone into framing them? The action of the U.S. Department of Justice needs to be commended. It is hoped that the labour departments back home will learn some lessons from such episodes and understand the need for ensuring the dignity of labour.

Sudhir Kumar Katiyar, Udaipur

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