Furious Indian politicians cancel meetings with US delegation over female diplomat’s ‘despicable and barbaric’ strip-search in New York

Dec 20, 2013| Courtesy by : dailymail.co.uk


 Indian diplomat held for visa fraud in US, released on bail

The arrest and strip-search of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade by authorities in New York has triggered a furore in India, with Parliamentarians demanding a discussion on the issue in the House.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi all cancelled their meetings with a visiting delegation of the US Congress in protest against the treatment meted out to the Indian diplomat.

The report that Devyani, accused of visa fraud, was “strip-searched” and detained with sex workers and drug addicts incensed senior leaders, who demanded reciprocal action against US diplomats based in New Delhi.

Former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha demanded that action should be taken against those US diplomats who have same-sex companions as the Supreme Court has ruled gay sex illegal in the country.

The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Modi, who has been denied a US visa, tweeted that he has cancelled his meeting with the visiting US delegation, comprising senior Congressmen, which was scheduled in Gandhi Nagar on Wednesday.

“Refused to meet the visiting USA delegation in solidarity with our nation, protesting ill treatment meted to our lady diplomat in USA,” he tweeted.

Rahul and Shinde also cancelled their meetings with the US delegation on Tuesday. 

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had refused to host the team on Monday as she felt it was not appropriate to meet Parliamentarians from the US, which has badly treated a senior Indian diplomat.





Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said India cannot be treated like a banana republic.

“We look forward to an unconditional apology from the US,” he said.

“The US and other countries should recognise the dignity and respect of other countries. They cannot deal with other countries in such a manner.”

BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said the treatment meted out to the Indian diplomat by the US does not accord to the level of friendship that the Indian government claims to have with the country.

“The way she was arrested after being handcuffed, kept with drug addicts and strip-searched in the police station is condemnable, reprehensible and regrettable and in clear violation of conventions,” he said.

JD(U) leader K.C. Tyagi advocated a tit-for-tat policy towards US diplomats in India, and slammed External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid for meeting a US delegation here after the incident.

Tyagi gave a notice to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari seeking to raise the issue in Zero Hour.

However, it could not be taken up as the House took up the Lokpal Bill for consideration.

Tyagi said he will give a notice again on Wednesday for taking up the issue in the Upper House as the matter was a very serious one.

BSP chief Mayawati also demanded that the government should intervene immediately.

Other Indian diplomats in US maid trouble

In 2011, Prabhu Dayal, the then Consul General in New York, was accused of treating his domestic help as a “slave”.

Santosh Bhardwaj, the maid, said in her complaint that she was forced to work long hours for $300 a month, her passport was confiscated and she had to sleep in a storage closet. She also alleged sexual overtures which Dayal vehemently denied.

India backed the diplomat against charges levelled by his former employee and expressed its disappointment with the manner in which the authorities in the US went about investigating this matter.

A Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson said New Delhi was “disappointed and deeply concerned” that Indian diplomats and their family members should be targeted in such a manner by a friendly country like the US.

In 2012, IFS officer Neena Malhotra, then India’s cultural and press counsellor in New York, and her husband Jogesh were ordered to pay out nearly $1.5 million for forcing an under-aged Indian girl to work for little pay at their Manhattan apartment.

The case prompted the Indian government to move the Delhi High Court for a restraining order against any adverse directive involving its officials.

The Delhi High Court restrained the maid and her solicitors from pursuing the case and made it clear that only an Indian court will have the jurisdiction to entertain the complaint.

“The alleged treatment has happened within Malhotra’s official residence, which is in occupation and belongs to the Indian Government and only the Indian laws would hence apply…,” said the court.


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