News / Asia

India Vows to Protect Diplomat After US Arrest

FILE - Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general, attends a fundraiser event in Long Island, New York, Dec. 8, 2013.
FILE - Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general, attends a fundraiser event in Long Island, New York, Dec. 8, 2013.
Anjana Pasricha
India says it wants the case against its female diplomat, arrested last week in New York on charges of visa fraud, to be dropped.   It says it does not want the dispute over the diplomat to harm its friendship with Washington, but has vowed to do everything to protect her.  

Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said Thursday that the case against a senior Indian diplomat at the Indian consulate in New York who was arrested last week did not deserve to be pursued and must be dropped.   

39-year-old Devyani Khobragade faces prosecution in the U.S. on charges of submitting false documents to obtain a work visa for her household help, and allegedly underpaying her. She has denied the charges and was released on bail following her arrest last week.

India has been infuriated by the treatment meted out to her following her arrest.  The diplomat said she was handcuffed, strip searched and cavity searched.

A call by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to a top Indian official to express regret did not fully soothe India.
    
Kamal Nath is India’s parliamentary affairs minister. 

Nath said to just express regret was not enough.   He said there should be an apology and an admission U.S. authorities have made a mistake.
 
The diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, faces prosecution on charges of submitting false documents to obtain a work visa for her household help, and allegedly underpaying her.  She has denied the charges and was released on bail following her arrest last week.

New York City U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, has said the diplomat was given courtesies beyond other defendants and she was not handcuffed in public.  He said she tried to evade U.S. law and created false documents.

India's foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin responded strongly on Thursday saying Bharara's statement was a post facto rationalization for an action that should never have taken place.

"The action taken against her was not in keeping with the Vienna Convention.  There were no courtesies in the treatment that was meted out to the diplomat under the normal definition of the word in the English language," he said.

The Indian government has transferred the diplomat to its mission at the United Nations, where she will get full diplomatic immunity.  But her new posting has to be cleared by the U.S. State Department.  

Khurshid told parliament Wednesday that India would protect and restore the dignity of the diplomat at any cost.

“I think the most important immediate concern is to ensure that no further indignity is inflicted upon the young officer.  And we are taking steps to ensure, legally, that we implement that immediately.  In terms of giving a strong, unambiguous, direct message to the United States of America, whatever I believe we were supposed to do we did immediately,” he said.   

In the days since the furor erupted, India has trimmed privileges of U.S. officials at consulates, rescinded airport passes and removed concrete security barriers in front of the U.S. embassy in New Delhi.

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by: Sobby from: IN
December 24, 2013 12:40 PM
All people commenting below should get their facts right and read/view the news/details in entirety rather thanjust ging by these blogs... The so called low paid employee is doing all this just to get a US Greencard under the asylum system but potraying as a victim...I am an indian and i know that She was being payed 5 times more than what an average indian pays to a permanent employee here (not dis-regarding the fact that US conditions are different and costly) Also, she had written a letter to her family 1 month before running away to a human rights commision stating that she was treated as a family by the diplomat...Tis is not th first case where a domestic help tries to twist the US laws realising their pro-human stance... Preet Bharara commited a mistake by not fully investigating th case before taking a utopian action.... Now that the US knows they have commited a mistake, they now do not want to apologise and get more embarrased.... I guess the people below preaching US standards are the same ones who thought war in Iraq was a fight for their freedom and not cuz of Oil monopoly... Lolz


by: Anoop from: India
December 23, 2013 12:42 AM
There's no denying the fact such harsh treatment is a clear case violations of Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, according to which consular officials are not liable to arrest except in cases of grave crime.

In January 2011, US contractor Raymond Davis shot down civilians at street in Pakistan and he still got evacuated back to US under diplomatic immunity. Davis' name had been included on the list of diplomats serving in Pakistan only after he had committed the murders, which did not extend him immunity under the Vienna Convention. So real double standards when it comes to US citizen and folks from "Rest Of the World" (ROW).

Read more stories on US officials breaking rules around the world : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/US-diplomats-who-got-away-with-abuse/articleshow/27763592.cms


by: Ali Khan from: Oslo
December 22, 2013 3:18 AM
Hats off to the US for standing behind a poor domestic worker so strongly. Y indian civil society is blind to this aspect of the issue?


by: AC from: USA
December 22, 2013 12:46 AM
US must brook no nonsense from such typical dramas. India should not be left off the hook even if they claim ignorantly.


by: San Mann
December 21, 2013 1:23 PM
I really have to ask whether the US is aware of how other 3rd world country diplomatic support staff are being paid. Is India the only one paying such wage levels in the US? If not, then is the US really fair in singling out India?

In Response

by: San Mann
December 22, 2013 5:13 AM
kukkaji,
I know many such "poor Indians" from my own personal experience - people who are eager to take refugee status at the earliest opportunity. We can all create a sob-story for ourselves, and there is a high incentive to do so when the rewards of refugee status are far better than life in India. Maybe we should wonder why life in India is not as prosperous as life in the USA. Perhaps you should consider that the reason for this is that India has more workers-rights activist per square inch of soil than the USA does. Everyone in India tries to be unionized, and is savvy on how to arm-twist their employer using the law. As a result, our economy is congested and very unproductive compared to the more successful countries. But none of us likes to lie in the bed we have made, when we can lie to others to quickly leapfrog to a better life for ourselves.
Have you ever wondered - if that diplomat had been assigned to the Indian embassy in Sudan, would the maid have accepted a Sudanese market wage? I think not. When in America, we want an American wage, when in Sudan we don't want a Sudanese wage. And in Switzerland, where everyone is a millionaire? We always want to have our cake and eat it too.

In Response

by: kukkaji from: AUSTRALIA
December 21, 2013 5:55 PM
Hmmmm
It is a good start to do all this. I wonder, why people are revved up about someone who is into slavery? Wouldn't it be good if people showed some sensitivity towards the 'poor Indian' rather than the 'rich connected Indian'. Doin that will make us a bit more human, wouldn't it?


by: Abhay K Sharma from: Gwalior
December 20, 2013 10:37 PM
I am happy that Deyani was arrested and will be prosecuted as per law.
In India mindset of slavery, rich -poor , high -low ,powerful -commoner is very
widespread.Mostly commoner suffer the burnt of law ,many times innocent
commoners suffer for misdeeds of rich and powerful.
Rarely powerful and connected people face prosecution on same terms as
commoners in India.
Even when Powerful,Resourceful people are arrested or Jailed sometimes they
keep enjoying facilities which are denied to Common Persons in my Country India.
Here in India privileged and commoner are ALMOST NEVER treated on an
equal footing by law enforcement agencies, which runs against our Indian Constitution .
I'm very satisfied to note that US law enforcement agencies treat all citizens
equally under the law.
This establishes the "Rule of Law " firmly and is best for society.
No one is above law,No one should be allowed to exploit staff and evade law.
I SALUTE US LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY IN THIS CASE.
Where is the question of "Apology" ?


by: Ram from: Geneva
December 20, 2013 11:43 AM
I appreciate the reaction shown by the Indian Government. We must not not forget that once "the dignity has lost, cannot be restored even by apology what India is expecting". What action should be taken against the Indian diplomats who are liable for victimizing Indians. There should be double punishment against such diplomats! I am victim of senior Indian diplomats and this was brought to the attention of Ansnd Sharma Commerce Minister and senior officers in the Ministry of Commerce, Mr. Saurabh Chandra, Secy . When it happens to politicians or diplomats the talk about "dignity". I have sympathy for Devyani.



by: Anonymous
December 19, 2013 9:02 PM
Disgusting how the doormat for the USA acts not only to those abroad but also to its immediate neighbors. The west has changed since 911, for the worst. Although I like American people, their laws/rules are entirely crazy. They treat everyday people like terrorists until proven otherwise. All because of 911, should the world be punished???

In god we don't trust.


by: Ian from: USA
December 19, 2013 2:39 PM
indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade (from India) said she was handcuffed, strip searched and cavity searched."
versus
"indian american New York City U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (from the USA) , who said the diplomat was given courtesies beyond other defendants and she was not handcuffed in public. He said she tried to evade U.S. law and created false documents.

One of them told the truth
Let us find out who did

I have no problem with the US apologizes for any wrong doing, on the other hand if she falsified facts (including her treatment in the arrest ), It would prove to be quite embarrassing for India to make more noise about her


In Response

by: Tonei from: USA
December 21, 2013 3:49 PM
chandu is right. India is a big disgrace for this pathetic reaction. It's a shame to see a nation hoist on
It's own petard. The slaver is not only a fraud, but also viciously attacked the family of the victim. Unfortunately Indians expect their culturally ingrained corruption and human rights abuses exported globally. But now the world sees we need to isolate this backward feudal society and leave them to their own doing. They are not ready for the civilized world. I work with Indians all day and they are corrupt. They steal the jobs of my countrymen because they are willing to take any abuses and low wages necessary to take the Americans job. They also have nothing to lose by lying about their credentials. And my Indian co workers are the ones who tell me everyone and everything in India is corrupt.

In Response

by: Suman from: India
December 20, 2013 12:49 AM
Mr Chandu from China,
Congrats to you that you have adopted Indian name. Well you might be feeling elated with the controversies but It is a friendly exchange between friendly countries and will be over within a month. You use very strong language to condemn Indian people. Even if you are right and consider Devyani as wrong does it give licence to you to denigrate entire country. Why no you see action of your own Government who is not respecting freedom of smaller countries like Taiwan, Philipines, Vietnam, Japan, India by taking help of history. You want to change status by force.

In Response

by: CHANDU from: BEIJING
December 19, 2013 9:05 PM
SHAMEFUL INDIA. INDIA FOSTERS SLAVERY....THESE DIPLOMATS....WHAT YOU ARE?


by: Dr.sumit from: India
December 19, 2013 1:37 PM
Dear American please try to know the truth accept the truth;our senior diplomat had field case against maid,but American legal authority have not taken any action against maid.and see the next step of America had given visa to maid husband.this is conspiracy against India by clever American government

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