Has US gone overboard against Devyani Khobragade?Top Stories

December 17, 2013 09:50
Has US gone overboard against Devyani Khobragade?},{Has US gone overboard against Devyani Khobragade?

(Image source from: Has US gone overboard against Devyani Khobragade?})

The arrest of Indian Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade in New York seems to be snowballing into a deeper issue intensifying India-US diplomatic row as shocking details of her arrest emerges now.

The 39-year-old Dr Khobragade, who was arrested in broad day light in full public view, was on her way to her children's school when she was stopped by the cops and handcuffed. Her plea that she was an Indian diplomat and enjoyed diplomatic immunity fell in deaf ears as she was thrown in jail where she was stripped and searched by the US Marshals and made to stand with hardened criminals like drug addicts and sex workers. She was released after about six hours on a quarter million bail bond.

The horrifying details of ill-treatment to a diplomat seems to have rattled country's political big wigs who have expressed strong contempt towards US' irascible and over-the-top reaction to a petty problem as hers.

"This is in grave violation of the Vienna Convention. The US authorities knew she was a diplomat and yet they deliberately humiliated her. The US is well aware of the legal status of the case with the domestic help which was being pursued in a court of law in India. In fact India sought US help in the case. Yet the deliberate insult," sources said.

The New York Police defended their stand saying that they were simply "following orders" that came from "higher ups."

"With United Nations in New York, diplomats from across the world live and work there. The New York Police knows better than to arrest and strip search diplomats. This was a move aimed to send a message and test India's response," sources added.

This is the second time that the New York police has arrested an Indian diplomat. Previously, a diplomat's young daughter was arrested and locked up on false charges. India protested but US dismissed all of it.

However, India refuses to take things lying down his time. Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar has cancelled her meeting with the bipartisan US Congressional delegation. "The speaker was extremely angry not because Dr Khobragade is a Dalit, but because the US did this to a woman diplomat, a mother of two. She is impressed by the manner in which Dr Khobragade handled herself with dignity. But as a former diplomat and a woman, Meira Kumar wanted to send a message,'' sources in Parliament said.

Not just Meira Kumar, even Shiv Shankar Menon, the national security advisor refused to meet the US Congressional delegation. "Whatever the provocation, the US government had no business to behave in the manner in which they did. It is not an error of judgement by one police officer. This is far more serious," sources added.

AW: Suchorita Dutta Choudhury

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