Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What's inhuman?

I'm beginning to get really annoyed with S.M.Krishna and Nirupama Rao for shooting their mouths off at the slightest provocation when it comes to NRIs in the United States.
Foreign minister Krishna labelled 'inhuman' the radio tagging of Indians caught up in an immigration racket. Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, calling the men "bonafide students", said, "It's going to rankle in our minds that our young people have been treated this way". Media reports say the 'students' were duped by Tri-Valley University, but the facts suggest many were complicit in the scam. This ridiculous comment in the Hindustan Times refers to radio tags as humiliating and calls the treatment of Indian racist. Through all this nobody has explained exactly why wearing an ankle bracelet that can easily be hidden under trousers is such a dreadful punishment. Given the choice between jail and an electronic tag, I'd choose the tag in an instant. Isn't it legitimate for US authorities to believe some of these students would be a flight risk since the entire issue revolves around gaming the visa system? Impounding passports isn't a perfect solution, since people can disappear in the US and then acquire new documents easily enough.
Indians who try sneaking into the West by underhand means make getting legitimate visas that much more difficult for the rest of us. I don't understand the outpouring of sympathy for these guys, except among those who hoped to use a similar route. What irritates me even more is our government's complete silence in response to the denial of basic rights to Indians in Gulf nations. Out there, passports of labourers can be impounded by employers; workers building swish multi-billion dollar projects can be packed ten to a room in 50 degree heat and made to work long hours with no holidays; Indian citizens can be wrongly implicated in cases, jailed, and even sentenced to death en masse following a dubious judicial process; and our government remains absolutely mute, sucking up to Sheikhs who hurt our economy, while making billions for themselves, by restricting oil output through a petroleum cartel. Our ministers only wake up when some Bollywood star is detained at a US airport for an hour or two; or when tags of the kind that have been worn by well-known personalities like Lindsay Lohan and Julian Assange are prescribed to Indians.

And don't even get me started on how we treat suspects and undertrials in India.


Anonymous said...

Is it a question of effective lobbying & image? Labourers, poor sods, are a dime a dozen, & don't really make the news all that often for the 'right' reasons. But we're still 'competing' with China to send students to the States, so there'll be plenty of wailing from the rooftops over this.

adrian mckinty said...

To my eyes America's attitude towards India seems overwhelmingly positive (at least compared to say China, or heaven help us Africa). Yes Indians are still stereotyped in the US in Harold and Kumar, The Simpsons, Family Guy etc. but the stereotype is generally that Indians are hardworking, studious, conservative and geeky...I mean it could be a lot worse.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, this is first reasonable read on this issue. I am staying with a guy who studies(means work full-time) in similar type of university and it goes without saying he is fully sympathetic to these people. With their outrageous claims like 10 yr of work experience on every technology under sun, these guys really make it really difficult for genuine candidates to find job.