India reviewing policy of providing domestic help to diplomats

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has ordered a review of the policy, official sources said, adding the government would look at the policies of other countries as well to avoid the lawsuits arising out of such incidents.

The review was prompted after a recent incident involving Dayal came to light, with his maid accusing him of mistreatment.

"We are disappointed and surprised at the allegations against Consul General (CG) of India in New York, Mr Prabhu Dayal, by his former employee, which appear to be motivated and baseless," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said in a statement.
He said Dayal had "impeccable personal and professional integrity" and India was "disappointed and deeply concerned that Indian diplomats and their family members should be targeted in such a manner in a friendly country like the US."

"Such actions impede the ability of the individuals in question to discharge their official responsibilities and cause untold mental harassment and anguish and they cannot be dismissed lightly," Prakash said.

"The treatment being meted out to Indian diplomats or their family members, has resulted in negative public perceptions in India with attendant implications," he said.

Dayal has been slapped with forced labour charges after his 45-year-old domestic help Santosh Bhardwaj accused him of treating her like a "slave".

The allegations have been termed as "mischievous and malicious lies" by Dayal.

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