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Anger Grows Over Indian Diplomat's Arrest

Diplomatic tension escalated between the United States and India Tuesday following last week's arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York City.

Indian authorities asked U.S. consular officers to return their identity cards, rescinded airport passes and removed concrete security barriers from in front of the U.S. embassy in New Delhi.

The moves appear to be in retaliation for the arrest and allegedly heavy-handed treatment of Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general, who was charged with visa fraud.

The 39-year-old Khobragade is accused of making false statements in support of the visa application of an Indian national she brought to the United States to serve as household staff. She also is accused of paying the woman less than the minimum wage.

In India, there is outrage at reports Khobragade was handcuffed in public, later strip searched and briefly held in a jail cell with drug addicts. She was released on a bail of $250,000 after pleading not guilty.

Indian officials described the treatment the diplomat as humiliating.

In a diplomatic rebuff, Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde cancelled his meeting with a five-member delegation of U.S. congress members visiting New Delhi. Ruling Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi and opposition leader Narendra Modi also cancelled meetings with the group.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Tuesday the U.S. and India enjoy "a broad and deep friendship," and called the issue "an isolated episode."

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