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.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    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
    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora