New Delhi: At a time when India's High Commissioner to New Zealand has been recalled following allegations that his wife assaulted a staff member, official statistics show that there have been over 40 complaints against Indian embassies over the last three years, with 27 registered last year alone.
However, officials in the External Affairs ministry say that not all complaints are against Indian diplomats. Many, they say, are also against locally-hired staff and relate to issues of dereliction of duty and performance.
In reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on May 7 on the issue of rising number of complaints against Indian embassies, VK Singh, the Minister of State for External Affairs, said that the largest number of complaints, eight, have been against the UK mission - five in 2014, one in 2013 and two 2 in 2012 - as well the one in Madagascar. The mission in Kenya has seen seven complaints over the last three years, he added.
Last month, a member of the Service Staff of the Indian High Commission in New Zealand alleged that he was kept in slavery and was assaulted by Sharmila Thapar, the wife of India High Commissioner Ravi Thapar, according to media reports.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the issue was first brought to the Ministry's notice on May 10 when one of the Service Staff Members of the High Commission was found missing.
The complainant, believed to be a chef, had reportedly walked 20 kilometres one night from the diplomat's residence to Wellington where he was found by a resident in a distressed state.
He was then reportedly taken to a police station and later spent several nights at the Wellington Night Shelter.
"Though no charges were pressed by the Service Staff member, the Ministry will investigate the matter further. The High Commissioner has been posted back to Headquarters," Mr Swarup said.