Indian diplomat treated housekeeper like a slave: Lawsuit

June 21st, 2011 - 11:12 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 21 (IANS) Prabhu Dayal, the Indian consul general in New York has been slapped with a forced-labour suit by a former housekeeper who says she was treated like a slave while working for him and his family, a US media report said.

Dayal allegedly promised the woman $10 an hour, plus overtime, to cook and clean for him and his wife after he was appointed to his post in 2008, according to New York Post.

But after arriving in the United States, Santosh Bhardwaj, 45, alleged Dayal confiscated her passport and paid her only $300 a month to sleep in a storage closet and toil 15-plus hours a day, seven days a week, the Post said.

The daily citing her Manhattan federal court filing - which seeks unspecified damages and the return of her passport - said she escaped last year by slipping out of the Indian consulate building on East 64th Street while Dayal was out at a meeting and his wife was in her room with the door closed.

The Post cited a spokeswoman for the Legal Aid Society, which is representing Bhardwaj, said Dayal isn’t protected by diplomatic immunity because consular officers are only covered for their “official acts.”

The diplomat or the consulate did not immediately react to the report. Calls to the Dayals by IANS went answered.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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