News / Asia

    US Arrest of Indian Diplomat Sparks Dispute

    A police officer stops a group of Indians protesting against the arrest of Devyani Khobragade, an Indian consular officer in New York,  outside the U.S consulate in Hyderabad, India, Dec. 16, 2013.A police officer stops a group of Indians protesting against the arrest of Devyani Khobragade, an Indian consular officer in New York, outside the U.S consulate in Hyderabad, India, Dec. 16, 2013.
    x
    A police officer stops a group of Indians protesting against the arrest of Devyani Khobragade, an Indian consular officer in New York,  outside the U.S consulate in Hyderabad, India, Dec. 16, 2013.
    A police officer stops a group of Indians protesting against the arrest of Devyani Khobragade, an Indian consular officer in New York, outside the U.S consulate in Hyderabad, India, Dec. 16, 2013.
    Anjana Pasricha
    The treatment of an Indian diplomat arrested in New York on visa fraud charges has turned into a diplomatic dispute between Washington and New Delhi.  Top officials boycotted a visiting U.S. Congressional delegation in protest over the incident.
     
    The Indian diplomat at the heart of escalating tensions between India and Washington is Devyani Khobragade, 39, deputy consul general at the Indian consulate in New York.
     
    She was arrested on Thursday in New York while dropping her daughter off at school. She faces criminal charges of lying on a visa form about how much she paid her housekeeper.
     
    In India, there is outrage at reports that she was handcuffed in public, later strip- searched and briefly held in a jail cell with drug addicts. She was released on $250,000 bail, after pleading not guilty.
     
    Indian officials described the diplomat's treatment as "humiliating, despicable and barbaric".
     
    Indian Foreign Minister, Salman Khurshid, said Tuesday that New Delhi takes the incident very seriously.

    “We feel very extreme level of distress in terms of human element that is involved. A person, the officer being subjected to that form of indignity is for us completely unacceptable," he said. "Therefore, I can only say this to you, whatever needs to be done is being done. It is already in process. We have put in motion what we believe would be effective way of addressing this issue.”
     
    In a diplomatic rebuff, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde canceled his meeting with a five-member delegation of U.S.Congressmen which is visiting New Delhi. Ruling Congress Party leader Rahul Gandhi and opposition leader Narendra Modi also canceled their meetings with the group.
     
    New Delhi also asked all officials at U.S. consulates in India to return identity cards which give them diplomatic benefits. This is among a slew of measures India is reported to be mulling to review immunity and benefits enjoyed by the consulates.
     
    The U.S. says New York police followed standard procedures in arresting the diplomat. On Monday in Washington, U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesperson, Marie Harf was asked about diplomatic immunity for Devyani Khobragade.
     
    “There are different kinds of immunity," noted Harf. "This isn't just in the U.S., it's all around the world. 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."
     
    U.S. prosecutors allege Khobragade was paying her housekeeper less than the legal minimum wage, which was much less than the approximately $4,500 a month she stated on visa applications.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 3
        Next 
    by: Roger from: New York, NY
    December 20, 2013 2:54 AM
    Got to love the duplicity of the situation. Everyday, all around us, millions of mexicans, many (almost all) of them illegals, mow our lawns, deliver food to our doors, wash our cars, sell flowers at signals, hand out menus & pamplets at street corners, and we, in our hypocritcal ways, lap up the free ride, never for once wondering or even pausing to wonder if they're being paid, yes, our minimum wage.

    But wait, suddenly, magically, we develop a conscience!! How dare this Indian diplomat treat her maid so poorly. Such travesty that the maid be paid a monthly salary of Rs. 30000 in India, (about 10 times the salary of any maid there and about what a programmer gets paid), and a measly allowance here in New York City. How dare she be housed in an apartment in Central Manhattan (where even many Wall Streeters can't afford to live), get free food and a meagre allowance.

    Guess what, that's a better life than many many unfortunate Americans know of, living on cold hungry streets and dark alleyways. And yeah, we're sure that each one of them many thousand Scandanavian nannys in New York City gets paid, yes, comfortably more than our minimum wage. So really was this about some DA caring for one of New York City's many million wretched underpaid souls or about an overzealous expat with longing political ambitions chasing after yet another high profile figure, hmmm just an interesting thought...

    Who cares anyways , let's just get out there on that white horse and alienate yet another friendly nation, one of the few we have left in a hostile corner. Let's just give their Director of External Affairs the white glove treatment and a cavity search, just so we can hold our chins high in righteousness, that too if we must, in a day and age of Backscatter X-Ray Scanners, them see-it-all machines, omnipresent at every airport security gate! Sure, lets just alienate the one country that three different administrations wooed with great difficulty to just about become a bit more pro-american.

    Guess what, the scorned ones are very vengeful, watch them start importing Iranian oil again, watch them buy aircraft from Airbus instead of Boeing, watch them hand out industrial contracts to Siemens instead of GE, watch them vote against American initiatives at the UN. Watch them lean once again towards China and Russia. Hmmm....there are no rights or wrongs in diplomacy, they say, just permanent interests. Perhaps our lawmakers need be reminded what Sir Isaac Newton once said “Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy.” It might still not be too late to correct this one.

    by: Myron E Zorger from: Fallon, NV
    December 19, 2013 3:00 PM
    Let's talk about the US Female Citizens raped in 'india"
    Let's stop using 'indians' for telecommunications workers!
    Let's talk about 'indian' bigotry!
    Let's stop shopping for body parts in 'india'!
    In Response

    by: Suman from: India
    December 20, 2013 12:27 AM
    Use google and see how many US female citizens are raped in their own country and how many citizens of other countries were raped by USA military men like Afganistan so better avoid going too far in this line. USA is superpower in every field and no one can force them to use Indians for telecommunication work. Why not USA citizen themselves use product and services available in their own country. Why they are dependent on China for cheap imports and India for cheap services. Use your anger and start doing work for your own country just as I have decided not to use any American product for entire my life I will use Indian products instead.

    Why you consider India is dependent on USA. We have survived seating in opposite camp during cold war era. We are not afraid of living within our means unlike your concern that USA is fast loosing its superpower status by every passing day. We respected America for freedom provided to every one to do whatever they want so we saw so many scientist , entrepreneur in USA between 1940-2000. Don't you think attitude of USA has changed as they are no longer more open, tolerant and respectful towards every human without looking for theit country of origin. You do not take action against Russian diplomats, Chinese as you know you will receive tit for tat.

    India is poor but we are growing and we have presence in every field be it nuclear missile , space,nuclear submarines, Aircraft career, Information technology, healthcare etc. I admit that we are inferior to you in all the above mentioned field but do you think that you will always maintain the gap. Learn from story of UK and British empire where are they now.... Germany is having better economy than both UK and France but why you don't give permanent position in security council.

    So it is better we should concentrate on what we contribute to our nation instead of blaming other for inherent weakness of your economy and system. Stop using credit card , tries living within your means , do not use borrowed money and don't compel your Govt. to raise you debt limit which is in double figure in trillion dollars. Its painful to see that world's best democracy is insulting world's largest democracy.

    by: Anonymous
    December 19, 2013 10:36 AM
    The actions taken by the US are a disgrace to the world, over the 911 incident. Just because a dozen or so terrorists commit heinous crimes does not mean you punish the innocent. This is bad behaviour, treat everyone like terrorists until proven otherwise. All this did was grow more hatred against the US policies around the world.

    by: Sudip Sharma from: Kathmandu
    December 19, 2013 10:28 AM
    INDIA Please feel the pain of being dominated and correct your behavior around your vicinity. Nepal is fed up with your "BIG BROTHERLY" role.
    In Response

    by: Suman from: India
    December 20, 2013 12:34 AM
    You are right to a great extent.But dear friend common citizens of India have great respect for your country. As a Indian citizen I am sorry that some of our Govt. actions might have have offended you. People to people contact between our two country is so strong that political or Govt. action can not create a wage between our two countries.

    by: Che Wright from: usa
    December 18, 2013 8:46 PM
    I do not believe most Americans understand the level of disgrace this brings upon the consulate official. It should have been handled more diplomatically before she was strip searched, she is not guilty of a violent crime worth 250,000 bond, and the police either did not care about international relations or are ignorant. Nobody forced her housekeeper to work for her. I agree she was wrong to lie about wage on visa but prove she had not intended to pay that at the start before she underpaid, they cannot. The punishment does not fit the crime. Ny should be ashamed, if a us woman was stripped in new dehli when she had immunity it would be huge too and us americans are used to it and not subjected to the same shame and social implications as indian women.
    In Response

    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    December 19, 2013 6:57 PM
    I agree the punishment does not fit the crime. I guess there is still a racial and sexual discrimination. I wonder how the matter was treated if the suspect was a white male.

    by: Terence from: New Delhi
    December 18, 2013 9:53 AM
    It is all about how US treats people from different parts of the world .so what If the declaration on the visa form does not justify the wage as per US , the issue is not what is wrong on her part , its is what is wrong on US part as well .
    Question is , was the whole procedure and act was RIGHT ,??? Above all the dignity of the offcial also needs to be taken into concideration . Forget about any other thing.
    Must wake up now and be more vigilant when dealing with America, thnks
    In Response

    by: amir from: detroit
    December 18, 2013 10:51 PM
    America is a land of immigrants with people from all over the world. I think it is in a much better position then a country like india when it comes to dealing with the rest of the world. This woman was practicing slave labor on the victim employed to her. She broke not just US law but the global law of human rights.

    by: Caite from: USA
    December 18, 2013 8:34 AM
    It may be time for the USA to warn India. This country thinks that USA is a playground for outsourcing jobs and messing up with our economy.
    In Response

    by: Dinesh from: Washington
    December 19, 2013 7:38 AM
    Your comment is of poor taste. Please be sensible in what you comment. The crime she committed was not a heinous. It may be acceptable for an American to strip searched. But Indians consider it as harassment.
    In Response

    by: Suman from: India
    December 19, 2013 1:14 AM
    No body stops USA to close outsourcing. Its pure economic sense for US companies and they benefit. No body mess with your economy american themselves are responsible they use borrowed money to purchase cheap goods and print USD and use bond purchase to artificially support the economy. Americam lives beyond their means. Don't blame others for your economic mess.

    by: Vincent from: Morris
    December 18, 2013 6:38 AM
    This just goes on to prove that US of A is just another banana republic that flouts Vienna Conventions again and again. Grow up USA. Rest of the world is not as backward as you.
    In Response

    by: amir from: detroit
    December 18, 2013 10:53 PM
    Yes because practicing indentured slavery isn't considered backwords to u indians right?

    by: American from: New Jersey
    December 17, 2013 11:05 PM
    Don't understand the issue here, the Indian lied on the visa and was caught by the officials and being rightly prosecuted...has anyone thought about the poor Indian who is being made to work as a slave here?? I hope this liar gets prosecuted
    In Response

    by: Dinesh from: Washington
    December 19, 2013 7:41 AM
    Slave ? I think you have more insights than any of us here. To my knowledge, she lied on her visa about her maids salary. That is different from treating one as slave like what you Americans did all along.

    by: powerandprivilege from: USA
    December 17, 2013 7:58 PM
    The whole episode sounds fishy. There are thousands of illegals working at hotels and restaurants in the USA. The NYPD must have given into some political pressure from special interest groups.
    In Response

    by: Che Wright from: usa
    December 18, 2013 8:48 PM
    Agreed
    In Response

    by: American from: NJ
    December 18, 2013 10:16 AM
    Still doesnt give the woman the right to enslave someone, its like when caught speeding, you try to tell the cop 'officer why didnt you catch the other guys who were going faster than me' ;) ...you know it wont work :)
    Comments page of 3
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora