Indian woman charges IFS officer of enslaving her

Last Updated: Saturday, July 3, 2010 - 23:17

New York: An young woman from India has
charged an Indian government official, her former employer, of
forcing her to serve as a slave for three years.

Shanti Gurung, now 21, has filed a lawsuit against
Neena Malhotra and her husband Jogesh, seeking unspecified
damages for three-plus years of "slavery and peonage," New
York Post reported today.
Ironically, Malhotra headed a 2008 initiative against
domestic abuse while serving as a Manhattan-based consul
responsible for "women-related issues."

She now works for the Ministry of External Affairs in
New Delhi, the lawsuit filed in New York city says, according
to the paper.

Gurung claimed that the couple tricked her into
accompanying them to America in March 2006 with the promise of
Rs 5,000 a month, with raises every six months.

However, once in the US, she only received a single
payment of Rs 5,500 and was threatened "if she ever tried to
leave, police would beat and arrest her...," the suit says.

Gurung, then 17, was allegedly made to lie to
immigration officials about her age and about a salary of
USD 7-an-hour to get her a visa, it says.

In her "involuntary servitude," she was forced to
sleep on the floor of their apartment and made to do household
chores 16 hours a day "often until 3 a.m. following frequent
parties," the suit says.
It also alleges that the Malhotra starved the girl,
and once reprimanded her for having eating a slice of bread
without permission.

The girl managed to escape in July 2009 after
remaining with the Malhotras for three years.

The paper said the Consulate General of India in
Manhattan did not return calls for comment.

IFS officer refuses to react to allegations

Senior IFS officer Neena
Malhotra, who has been accused by a young woman in New York of
treating her as a slave, today refused to comment on the
subject.

When reached for a reaction by agency on the allegation
levelled by the woman who was engaged by the IFS officer,
Malhotra asked for the caller`s identity and after
ascertaining that, disconnected the phone.

Malhotra returned from New York about a year back and at
present is posted as Director, Southern Division of the
Ministry of External Affairs Ministry, sources said.

21-year-old Shanti Gurung has filed a lawsuit against
Neena Malhotra and her husband Jogesh, seeking unspecified
damages for three-plus years of "slavery and peonage," New
York Post reported today.

Gurung claimed the couple tricked her into accompanying
them to America in March 2006 with the promise of Rs 5,000 a
month, with raises every six months.

However, once in the US, she only received a single
payment of Rs 5,500 and was threatened that "if she ever tried
to leave, police would beat and arrest her...," the suit says.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, July 3, 2010 - 23:17

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