Today’s series of articles of which there are quite a few are taken from a number of newspapers such as the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, The Telegraph (UK), The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Mail, The Washington Post and The New York Times.
They talk about something that’s big news here in Delhi at the moment: a growing diplomatic spat between the Americans and the Indians:
Indian fury, retaliation after US arrests diplomat
Date: December 18, 2013 - 2:10PM
A bulldozer removes the security barriers in front of the US embassy in Delhi. Photo: Reuters
Delhi: India has launched a series of reprisals against US officials as outrage grows over a diplomat's arrest in New York, which Delhi has branded "humiliating".
In an escalating row over the arrest, the Indian government ordered a range of measures including the return of identity cards for US consular officials that speed up travel into and through India, foreign ministry sources said.
"We have ordered the withdrawal of all ID cards that are issued by the Ministry of External Affairs to the officials at the US consulates across India," a senior ministry source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The government will also stop all import clearances for the US embassy, including liquor, the sources said, while Indian security forces removed barricades from outside the US embassy in Delhi.
The moves come after India's deputy consul general in the US, Devyani Khobragade, was arrested in New York last week while dropping her children off at school.
Ms Khobragade was arrested for allegedly underpaying her domestic helper, who is also an Indian national, and for lying on the helper's visa application form.
Anger over the incident has been mounting in the Indian press, with front-page reports on Tuesday claiming Ms Khobragade had been handcuffed and "strip-searched and confined with drug addicts" after her arrest.
Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said on Tuesday the government had "put in motion" measures to address the arrest, calling Ms Khobragade's seizure "completely unacceptable".
"We have put in motion what we believe would be effective ways of addressing the issue but also [put] in motion such steps that need to be taken to protect her dignity," Mr Khurshid said, without confirming new reprisals.
US State Department deputy spokesman Marie Harf said on Monday that diplomatic security staff "followed standard procedures" during the arrest before Ms Khobragade was handed over to US Marshals.
Ms Harf also said Ms Khobragade only has immunity from prosecution with respect to duties performed as a consular official, under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
The Indian embassy in Washington said on Friday that the detention was based on "allegations raised by the officer's former India-based domestic assistant".
The domestic worker had "absconded" from her employer in June and was already the subject of an injunction issued by the High Court in Delhi, it said.
This article was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/world/indian-fury-retaliation-after-us-arrests-diplomat-20131218-hv65z.html
Indian diplomat's New York arrest causes international furore
· DECEMBER 18, 2013 8:28AM
Indian police remove barricades outside the US Embassy in Delhi in retaliation for the arrest and strip search of an Indian diplomat in New York. Picture: AP Source: AP
THE arrest and strip search of an Indian diplomat in New York has escalated into a major diplomatic furore as India's national security adviser called the woman's treatment "despicable and barbaric."
Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general in New York, is accused of submitting false documents to obtain a work visa for her Manhattan housekeeper.
Indian officials said she was arrested and handcuffed last Thursday as she dropped off her daughter at school, and was kept in a cell with drug addicts before posting $US250,000 bail.
A senior Indian official confirmed reports that she also was stripsearched, which has been portrayed in India as the most offensive and troubling part of the arrest.
The US Marshals Service confirmed Ms Khobragade had been stripsearched and held with other detainees.
Federal authorities said they were looking into the arrest.
"We understand that this is a sensitive issue for many in India," said Marie Harf, State Department deputy spokeswoman. "Accordingly, we are looking into the intake procedures surrounding this arrest to ensure that all appropriate procedures were followed and every opportunity for courtesy was extended."
Ms Harf said federal authorities would work on the issue with India "in the spirit of partnership and cooperation that marks our broad bilateral relationship."
"We certainly don't want this to affect the relationship," she said.
India was ready to retaliate against American diplomats in India by threatening to downgrade privileges and demanding information about how much they pay their Indian household staff, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.
Police also removed the traffic barricades near the US Embassy in New Delhi, a demand by the Indian government in retaliation for Ms Khobragade's treatment, PTI reported.
The barriers were a safety measure.
"We got orders to remove the concrete barriers," said Amardeep Sehgal, station house officer of the Chanakyapuri police station, the one nearest the embassy. "They were obstructing traffic on the road." He refused to say who had given the orders.
Calls to the US Embassy were not immediately returned.
But Ms Harf said the US had made clear to the India government that it needs to uphold its obligations under the Vienna Conventions on diplomatic and consular relations. She said the US takes the safety and security of its diplomats very seriously.
National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon slammed Ms Khobragade's treatment in New York.
"It is despicable and barbaric," he said.
Prosecutors in New York say Ms Khobragade, 39, claimed she paid her Indian maid
$US4,500 per month but actually paid her less than the US minimum wage.
In order for diplomats and consular officers to get a visa for their personal employees, known as an A-3 visa, they must show proof that the applicant will receive a fair wage, comparable to employment in the US, US Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement last week.
Federal prosecutors say Ms Khobragade told the housekeeper she would be paid 30,000 rupees per month - about $US573, or $US3.31 per hour. The woman worked for the family from about November 2012 through June 2013, and said she worked far more than 40 hours per week and was paid even less than 30,000 rupees, prosecutors said.
Ms Khobragade has pleaded not guilty and plans to challenge the arrest on grounds of diplomatic immunity, her lawyer said last week.
If convicted, Ms Khobragade faces a maximum sentence of 10 years for visa fraud and five years for making a false declaration. She was arrested outside of her daughter's Manhattan school.
"We are distressed at the treatment that Dr Khobragade has received at the hands of U.S. authorities," said her lawyer, Daniel Arshack. He said she should have diplomatic immunity.
Her case quickly became a major story in India, with politicians urging diplomatic retaliation and TV news channels showing the woman in a series of smiling family photos.
That reaction may look outsized in the United States, but the case touches on a string of issues that strike deeply in India, where the fear of public humiliation resonates strongly and heavy-handed treatment by the police is normally reserved for the poor. For an educated, middle-class woman to face public arrest and a strip search is almost unimaginable, except in the most brutal crimes.
Far less serious protocol complaints have become big issues in the past. Standard security checks in the US regularly are front-page news in India when they involve visiting Indian dignitaries, who are largely exempt from friskings while at home.
India's former speaker of Parliament, Somnath Chatterjee, once refused to attend an international meeting in Australia when he wasn't given a guarantee that he would not have to pass through security. Chatterjee said even the possibility of a security screening was "an affront to India."
The treatment and pay of household staff, meanwhile, is largely seen as a family issue, off-limits to the law.
The fallout from the arrest was growing. Indian political leaders from both the ruling party and the opposition yesterday refused to meet with the US congressional delegation in New Delhi. The Indian government said it was "shocked and appalled at the manner in which the diplomat had been humiliated" in the U.S.
Indian Foreign Secretary Sujata Singh summoned US Ambassador Nancy Powell to register a complaint.
Ms Harf said as India's deputy consul general, Ms Khobragade does not have full diplomatic immunity, but rather consular immunity from the jurisdiction of US courts only with respect to acts performed in the exercise of consular functions. She said the State Department had in September notified India in writing of the allegations against Ms Khobragade.
Ms Harf said the department's diplomatic security team followed standard procedures during the arrest. After her arrest, Ms Khobragade was handed over to US marshals for intake and processing, and Ms Harf said she could not comment on Khobragade's treatment at that point, or answer the allegations she was stripsearched.
Ms Khobragade's father, Uttam Khobragade, told the TimesNow TV news channel that his daughter's treatment was "absolutely obnoxious."
"As a father I feel hurt, our entire family is traumatised," he said.
Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said there were "larger issues" involved in the case, but did not elaborate.
"We will deal with them in good time," he said.
Indian leaders snub American Congressmen as row over public arrest of a senior diplomat grows
Indian leaders condemn arrest and strip-search of its diplomat in New York as 'barbaric'
Dr Khobragade, 39, was arrested and handcuffed as she dropped her daughter at school Photo: SPLASH NEWS
2:18PM GMT 17 Dec 2013
Indian leaders boycotted meetings with visiting US Congressmen on Tuesday amid a growing diplomatic row over the arrest and strip-searching of a senior Indian diplomat accused of visa fraud, making false statements and illegally paying her domestic servant below the minimum wage in the United States.
The speaker of the Indian parliament, its national security advisor, home minister and both main contenders to be India’s next prime minister - Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi - cancelled planned meetings with the US delegation over what they described as the ‘humiliating’ and ‘barbaric’ treatment of Devyani Khobragade, India’s deputy consul in New York.
Dr Khobragade, 39, was arrested and handcuffed as she dropped her daughter at school and was later strip-searched as part of American screening procedures for detainees.
She faces charges of visa fraud and paying illegal wages below the statutory minimum to her Indian domestic servant.
According to New York Police, Dr Khobragade had made a false statement that her Indian servant would be paid $4,500 (£2,760) per month on her visa application but in fact paid her just $500 (£306). She was arrested last week and held with alleged drug offenders but has since been released on $250,000 (£153,000) bail.
The United States ambassador to India, Nancy Powell, was summoned by India’s foreign secretary to explain Dr Khobragade’s treatment in what India regards as a serious breach of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic immunity. The U.S state department denied it had mistreated Dr Khobragade and said diplomats enjoy immunity only in matters relating to their work. Her treatment – being handcuffed and strip-searched – was normal screening procedure for the U.S Marshall Service, it said.
India’s foreign secretary Sujata Singh was reported to be angry that she had not been told of the diplomat’s impending arrest during her visit to the U.S last week even though the state department had been notificed. India’s External Affairs minister Salman Khurshid said today Dr Khobragade had been subjected to a to”a form of indignity (that) is for us completely unacceptable.”
Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat and Bharatiya Janata Party leader many expect to be India’s next prime minister said he had “refused to meet the visiting USA delegation in solidarity with our nation, protesting ill-treatment meted to our lady diplomat in USA.”
Pavan Varma, a former senior Indian diplomat said he was “outraged” by the treatment of Dr Khobragade which reflected American “arrogance” and “insensitivity”. It breached the Vienna Convention on the ‘civility’ with which diplomats must be treated and “can only be condoned by the fact that it considers itself to be the most powerful country in the world and the rest of the world should lump it,” he said.
He said many Indian diplomats posted around the world employed Indian household staff on Indian level terms and conditions. “The domestic staff live in with food and entitlement to health benefits, there is support to family members back home. For countries to impose unfeasible criteria on adequate remuneration for other countries, even if it complies with our standards of living and insist the rest is all exploitation is nonsense,” he added.
India now appears set to carry out further retaliation in relation to salaries paid to Indian servants by American diplomats in India. Most domestic servants in New Delhi, including those employed by the staff of various embassies, are paid around 12,000 Rupees ($200 or £120) a month – considerably lower than than the $500 or £306 paid to Dr Khobragade’s housekeeper.
India escalates diplomatic row after consul's arrest and strip-search in US
Handling of Devyani Khobragade's alleged visa fraud angers Indians with barriers removed from US embassy in reprisal
Indian workers remove a security barrier outside the US embassy in Delhi in retaliation to the alleged mistreatment of Khobragade. Photograph: Saurabh Das/AP
The arrest and strip-search of India's deputy consul general in New York triggered an escalating diplomat dispute on Tuesday, as Indian politicians boycotted a visit by US congressmen and Delhi threatened to remove privileges for US diplomats.
Devyani Khobragade was released on bail two hours after being arrested last week for visa fraud and making false statements on an application for her Indian housekeeper to live and work in New York. prosecutors in New York say Khobragade, 39, claimed she would pay her maid $4,500 (£2,800) a month when applying for a visa at the US embassy in Delhi – but actually paid her $573 (£350) a month, or $3.31 – less than the US minimum wage.
But her public arrest and subsequent treatment as "a common criminal" has prompted outrage at home. India's national security adviser called the treatment of Khobragade on Tuesday "despicable and barbaric".
Nancy Powell, US ambassador to Delhi, was summoned by the Indian foreign secretary, Sujatha Singh, last week and on Tuesday officials said that US diplomats would be asked to reveal full details of how much they paid their own domestic staff in India to ensure compliance with local laws.
Earlier on Tuesday bulldozers removed security barriers outside the US embassy in Delhi – the most visible evidence of the anger in the country sparked by the incident last week.
Politicians – including Rahul Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty and vice-chairman of the ruling Congress Party, and Narendra Modi, the prime ministerial candidate of the Hindu nationalist opposition – refused to meet a visiting US congressional delegation.
Indian government officials told the Guardian that they were "hurt and shocked".
"No Indian diplomat has been treated this way for decades. [The US] is our friend and strategic ally and you can't just treat a friendly country's representatives like this. This is major, major ill treatment and is totally inexplicable," one said.
The arrest quickly became a major story in India, dominating TV bulletins. According to Indian officials, Khobragade was arrested and handcuffed as she dropped off her daughter at school, then strip-searched and kept in a cell with drug addicts before posting $250,000 bail.
India is acutely sensitive to its international image and status, and in the past far less serious incidents have provoked major clashes. Standard security checks in the US regularly are front-page news here when they involve visiting Indian dignitaries, who are largely exempt from being frisked while at home.
US diplomats in consulates across India have been asked to surrender identity cards issued to them and their families, which entitle them to special privileges. India has also withdrawn all airport passes for consulates and import clearances for the embassy.
The new demand for details of salaries of US consular staff's domestic workers in India could prove embarrassing for the embassy. Many are likely to be found in breach of local standards. "We are applying a principle of strict reciprocity," said the Indian government official.
Khobragade, 39, has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which could lead to a 10-year prison sentence, and plans to challenge the arrest on grounds of diplomatic immunity, her lawyer said last week.
In Washington, the US state department has said that standard procedures were followed during Khobragade's arrest. Officials argue that her immunity from prosecution extends only to actions directly connected to her position.
The consular official's father, Uttam Khobragade, told the TimesNow TV news channel on Tuesday that his daughter's treatment was "absolutely obnoxious".
"As a father I feel hurt, our entire family is traumatised," he said.
In 2010 there was uproar after India's UN envoy, Hardeep Puri, was reportedly asked to remove his turban at a US airport and detained in a holding room when he was refused.
A hands-on search of India's US ambassador, Meera Shankar, at an airport in Mississippi that year also prompted claims that India had been "insulted".
In 2009 Continental Airlines apologised to the former Indian president APJ Abdul Kalam for searching him in Delhi before he boarded a flight to the US, and in 2005 India's former speaker of parliament Somnath Chatterjee refused to attend an international meeting in Australia without a guarantee that he would not have to pass through security.
Chatterjee said even the possibility of a security screening was "an affront to India".
- © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
India-US row over arrest of diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York escalates
India summons US ambassador and announces that it is withdrawing a series of diplomatic privileges to US officials
Tuesday 17 December 2013
The arrest of an Indian diplomat amid claims she had lied on a visa form for her domestic worker has turned into a major row between Washington and Delhi with India’s national security adviser calling her treatment “despicable and barbaric”.
India on Tuesday summoned the US ambassador and announced that it was withdrawing a series of diplomatic privileges to US officials. It also reopened a road that runs past the US embassy in Delhi but which for several years has been blocked off for security reasons. Several Indian officials declined to meet with members of a visiting US delegation.
“It is despicable and barbaric,” National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon told the Press Trust of India news agency.
The row follows the arrest last week in New York of Devyani Khobragade, India’s deputy consul general in the city, who has been accused of visa fraud and of making false statements on an application for her housekeeper to work for her in the US.
Indian officials said she was arrested and handcuffed last Thursday as she dropped off her daughter at school, then strip-searched and kept in a cell with drug addicts before posting $250,000 bail.
A spokesman for India’a foreign ministry failed to respond to calls on Tuesday but the Associated Press said a senior Indian official confirmed that the strip search had taken place. The US embassy has yet to comment.
Prosecutors in New York say Ms Khobragade, 39, claimed she paid her Indian maid $4,500 per month but actually paid her less than the US minimum wage. She has pleaded not guilty and plans to challenge the arrest on grounds of diplomatic immunity, her lawyer said last week.
India has reacted with fury to the way its official has been treated, saying Indian diplomats living abroad have for years taken their domestic workers with them and that host governments have had few problems with the issue. Most middle-class Indian homes will employ several domestic workers, often at very low wages.
“They treated her like al-Qa’ida had come to Manhattan,” said analyst and former diplomat KC Singh
Reports suggest the issue dates back several months to when Ms Khobragade’s domestic worker, Sangeeta Richard, requested permission to work for other people on her day off and then later failed to return home to the diplomat’s house.
Ms Richard’s Indian passport was subsequently revoked and she and her family were taken into custody. Subsequent to that, the US authorities have been investigating the circumstances in which she arrived in New York.
A senior member of India’s main opposition party said India should arrest gay partners of US diplomats living in India.
“My suggestion to the government of India is, the media has reported that we have issued visas to a number of US diplomats' companions. Companions means that they are of the same sex,” Yashwant Sinha of the Bharatiya Janata Party told reporters.
He added: “Now, after the Supreme Court ruling, it is completely illegal in our country. Just as paying less wages was illegal in the US. So, why doesn’t the government of India go ahead and arrest all of them?”
Politicians of all hues CANCEL meetings with US delegation over diplomat strip-search row
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:
India's Deputy Consul General in New York Devyani Khobragade was reportedly strip-searched by New York Police officers
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.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2525459/Political-parties-unite-outrage-US-Indian-diplomat-strip-searched-New-York.html#ixzz2no1ky68m
Anger brews over diplomat's arrest as New Delhi plans tit-for-tat measures against US
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:
It was about 4pm on Tuesday when cranes and policemen moved into Nyay Marg. Their objective was to remove the concrete barriers that seal the street off from the public, effectively creating an open-air corridor between the visa section and staff quarters of the giant US embassy in the Capital's diplomatic enclave.
The removal of the barriers - a diplomatic privilege accorded by the host nation - put India on a course of confrontation with the US.
No other embassy in the capital has enjoyed such a privilege; the Indian mission in the US certainly doesn't get such courtesies.
The Delhi Police removes concrete barricades from Nyay Marg
India on Tuesday cracked the whip, bracing itself for a tit-for-tat approach on what many are calling the "bully" behaviour of the US in arresting and strip-searching senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York last week.
It was more than just Nyay Marg. Four Notes Verbales were sent to the US embassy in New Delhi, telling them of the steps being taken. State governments were told that all diplomatic cards would have to be surrendered by December 19.
Officials have been told to ensure that no import proposals or quotas of liquor and food are cleared.
In New Delhi, the embassy has been asked to furnish all tax returns and details of salary paid to employees, both foreign and local, and income tax authorities will be asked to scrutinise the returns.
The airport passes of diplomats are being withdrawn. This is an unprecedented clampdown.
The government is working on three broad points: to review the immunity of US diplomats, restrict their access to official meetings and top officials, and curb any preferred treatment that the diplomats have so far enjoyed as a strategic partner of
The government's response was clearly shaped by the growing outrage, with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi refusing to meet a visiting bipartisan US congressional delegation in protest.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi were briefed through the day on the issue. The government has assured Devyani's father that it will do all it can to bring her back.
President Pranab Mukherjee expressed serious concern at the situation, spending most of his meeting with India's US ambassador designate S. Jaishankar on the treatment the
Dalit officer has received in the US.
Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, a Dalit, ensured swift action with the Delhi Police moving swiftly to remove the barricades.
National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, a strong supporter of close ties with the US, called Devyani's treatment "barbaric", and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh reviewed the situation with senior officials where a number of stern measures were discussed.
Sources say that Plan A is to take immediate measures on restricting diplomatic privileges available to US diplomats in India. Washington will be persuaded through diplomatic channels to let Devyani travel back to India.
"Either they drop the charges or she is expelled from the US. We are fine with either, but the bottom-line is that she has to be sent back to India soon," a senior official told Mail Today.
If the US persists with its present course of action, Plan B may kick in. This will involve prohibiting the spouses of US diplomats and their kin working in India, besides intense scrutiny of staffers at the United States Information Service or American Centres in India, as well as screening of staffers working with the American school.
Such is the sense of outrage that tit-for-tat treatment of a US consular official is also being considered, top officials privy to the discussions told Mail Today.
A town hall meeting of IFS officers at South Block saw Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh being told by the officers present that US must be taught a lesson.
"We are distressed at the treatment that Dr Khobragade has received at the hands of US authorities. There was simply no reason to have arrested her on the street in front of her daughter's school. Similarly situated individuals of her stature are routinely provided an opportunity to report to the authorities to address charges, at their convenience, instead of being swept off the street like a common criminal," one officer said.
Daniel N. Arshack, Devyani's lawyer, told Mail Today: "Dr Khobragade is protected from prosecution by virtue of her diplomatic status. This entire prosecution represents a significant error in judgment and an embarrassing failure of US international protocol.
We expect a prompt resolution of this matter"
The US Embassy had no comments.
Yashwant invokes Article 377
With India cutting down the privileges of US diplomats following Devyani Khobragade's arrest in New York, BJP leader Yaswant Sinha on Tuesday demanded that the government take action against US personnel in India having same-sex companions following the Supreme Court order against gay sex.
"The media has reported that we have issued visas to a number of US diplomats' companions. 'Companions' means they are of the same sex. Now, after the Supreme Court ruling, it is completely illegal in our country, just as paying less wages was illegal in the US. So, why does not the government of India go ahead and arrest them and punish them?" Sinha said.
India has been upset over the arrest of Deputy Counsel General Devyani Khobragade, a 1999-batch IFS officer, on a street in New York over visa fraud charges as she was dropping her daughter to school.
She was later released on a $250,000 (Rs 1.5 crore) bond after pleading not guilty in court.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2525462/Anger-brews-diplomats-arrest-New-Delhi-plans-tit-tat-measures-US.html#ixzz2no5A0lrP
Arrest of Indian diplomat in New York sparks U.S.-India tensions
By Annie Gowen, Published: December 17
NEW DELHI — The Indian government, furious about the rough treatment of a female diplomat arrested in New York last week, moved Tuesday to sharply rein in privileges of U.S. diplomats working in India, escalating a rare dispute between the two normally friendly nations.
India took what a senior government official termed “reciprocal measures,” revoking the ID
cards of U.S. Embassy personnel and their families, rescinding airport passes, freezing embassy imports of liquor and other goods, and investigating salaries paid to Indian staff members at U.S. consulates and as domestic help, as well as those teaching at U.S. schools in the country. As a final slap, Indian authorities removed concrete security barricades from outside the embassy complex in New Delhi.
Indian officials have alleged that the 39-year-old diplomat was strip-searched, cavity-searched and swabbed for DNA after her arrest in New York on fraud charges Thursday, then confined with hardened drug criminals until her release the same day on $250,000 bail. India’s national security adviser called the treatment “despicable and barbaric.”
“Everything that can be done will be done,” India’s foreign minister, Salman Khurshid, said Tuesday. “I can assure you we take this thing very seriously.”
The conflict began last week, when the deputy consul general at India’s consulate in New York was arrested and charged with visa fraud. The woman, Devyani Khobragade, is accused of making false statements during the visa application for the Indian national she brought to the United States to serve as a member of the household staff. She is also accused of paying the woman less than the minimum wage.
Marie Harf, the State Department’s deputy spokeswoman, defended U.S. actions Monday, saying that the department’s diplomatic security officials had followed “standard procedures” during the arrest. She did not directly address reports that Khobragade was strip-searched and referred questions about arrest procedures to the U.S. Marshals Service, which handled intake and processing.
On Tuesday, Harf characterized the circumstances of the arrest as an “isolated episode” and a “law enforcement issue” and said they would be looked into.
“We understand that this is a sensitive issue for many in India,” she said. “Accordingly, we are looking into the intake procedures surrounding this arrest to ensure that all appropriate procedures were followed and every opportunity for courtesy was extended.”
The Marshals Service said in a statement Tuesday that “standard arrestee intake procedures” were followed. In response to specific news media queries about whether a strip search had been conducted, the service said, “Yes, Devyani Khobragade was subject to the same search procedures as other USMS arrestees held within the general prisoner population in the Southern District of New York.” It said she had been placed in an “available and appropriate cell.”
Asked Monday whether Khobragade was due any special consideration or enjoyed diplomatic immunity from prosecution, Harf drew a distinction between diplomatic and consular immunity.
“Under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the Indian deputy consul general enjoys immunity from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts only with respect to acts performed in the exercise of consular functions,” Harf said. “So, in this case, she fell under that specific kind of immunity and would be liable to arrest pending trial pursuant a felony arrest warrant.”
Khobragade has remained publicly silent. But she wrote a note this week thanking her Indian diplomatic colleagues for their support and describing how she broke down several times while being strip-searched, according to an internal e-mail made available to The Washington Post.
According to court papers, Khobragade, who is described as an advocate for women’s issues, presented a work contract to U.S. authorities that said she would pay her maid-babysitter $9.75 an hour, as required.
But she later drew up a private contract with the maid and paid her only $3.31 an hour, the documents said. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at the time of her arrest that foreign nationals brought to the United States to serve as domestic workers are entitled to the same protections against exploitation as U.S. citizens.
In the days since Khobragade’s arrest, the Indian government has lodged a formal complaint with Nancy Powell, the U.S. ambassador to India, and several high-ranking Indian politicians refused to meet with a visiting U.S. congressional delegation to show their displeasure over the matter.
Diplomats in India said the treatment meted out to the deputy consul was “unprecedented” in the nearly 75-year-old relationship between the two countries, which has warmed over the years as India liberalized its trade policies, experienced an economic boom and committed to a civil nuclear energy pact.
“This is not the way friends and partners behave,” said a senior Indian official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. “We’ve never in our history — even with unfriendly countries — had anybody treat a diplomat like this. This is an outrage among all of us.”
Anne Gearan and Jennifer Jenkins in Washington and Rama Lakshmi in New Delhi contributed to this report.
© The Washington Post Company
Outrage in India, and Retaliation, Over a Female Diplomat’s Arrest in New York
Published: December 17, 2013
BANGALORE, India — The way an Indian diplomat was treated by law enforcement officials in New York last week has touched off a furor in India, where politicians from across the political spectrum expressed outrage and the New Delhi police retaliated by removing security barriers that were meant to protect the American Embassy.
The diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, the deputy consul general in New York, was arrested last Thursday and accused of submitting false documents to obtain a work visa for her housekeeper and paying the housekeeper far less than the minimum legal wage. Indian officials said that Ms. Khobragade was arrested and handcuffed on the street as she was leaving her daughter at school, and that she was kept in a holding cell with drug addicts before she was released on $250,000 bail.
By far the most troubling part for Indians are assertions that Ms. Khobragade, 39, was strip-searched after her arrest. Some Indian newspapers published reports claiming that she was subjected to repeated cavity searches. The Indian national security adviser, Shivshankar Menon, has called such treatment “despicable” and “barbaric.”
The Indian government issued a statement the day after the arrest saying it was “shocked and appalled at the manner in which she has been humiliated by the U.S. authorities.” The foreign secretary, Sujatha Singh, summoned the American ambassador to India, Nancy J. Powell, and lodged a strong protest at the “unacceptable treatment” of the diplomat.
The United States Marshals Service, in a statement, confirmed that Ms. Khobragade had been strip-searched, following “the same search procedures as other U.S.M.S. arrestees held within the general prisoner population in the Southern District of New York.” It said she was “placed in the available and appropriate cell.”
Indian officials, in addition to removing the maze of concrete security barriers surrounding the American Embassy compound, Indian news reports said, have demanded that the embassy provide details about all the Indians it employs, as well as the names and salaries of teachers at the American Embassy School; that the embassy commissary stop importing liquor; and that diplomatic identification cards for consular staff members and their families be returned.
The State Department expressed concern on Tuesday about removal of the security barriers near the embassy. “We have conveyed at high levels to the government of India our expectations that India will continue to fulfill all of its obligations,” said Marie Harf, the deputy State Department spokeswoman.
Ms. Harf acknowledged that the State Department’s diplomatic security officials had played a role in Ms. Khobragade’s detention but said that federal marshals had been responsible for the “intake procedure.” Federal prosecutors say that the charges stem from a promise Ms. Khobragade made to American authorities that she would pay her housekeeper $4,500 a month. The prosecutors said she actually paid the housekeeper just $573 a month and made her work far more than 40 hours a week.
Ms. Khobragade’s lawyer said last week that she had pleaded not guilty and planned to challenge the arrest on grounds of diplomatic immunity. The charges against her carry maximum sentences of 10 years for visa fraud and five years for making a false declaration.
It is not unusual in India for domestic staff to be paid poorly and be required to work more than 60 hours a week; they are sometimes treated abominably. Reports of maids being imprisoned or abused by their employers are frequent.
But the idea of a middle-class woman being arrested and ordered to disrobe is seen as shocking. Airport security procedures in India provide separate lines for women, and any pat-down searches are performed behind curtains.
Top Indian officials are exempt from security screenings here, and long lists of officials who are permitted to bypass the screenings are posted at many Indian airports. When those officials are required to pass through security screenings in the United States and elsewhere, that fact often makes headlines in India and is seen by some as an insult to the country.
Hari Kumar contributed reporting from New Delhi, and Michael R. Gordon and Michael S. Schmidt from Washington.