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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 3
     Previous   Next 
    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    December 17, 2013 7:55 PM
    I would like to know which is more felonious for her violation, hireing house keepers for less than the legal minimal wages or frauding on her visa applications.
    In Response

    by: suman from: India
    December 19, 2013 1:19 AM
    Please let me know the reason why USA govt pays less salary to citizen of other countries working in their consulate and embassies and schools. USA can not assume high moral ground. This is against ethics, discriminatory and outrageous.

    by: Lord Zed from: London
    December 17, 2013 6:48 PM
    Firstly, Ms. Khobgrade is a consular officer and not a diplomat - so she does not enjoy diplomatic immunity. Kudos to the US legal system for doing the right thing when the Indian government and civil service are actively trying to justify the exploitation of a poor maid by a well-connected civil servant. Incidentally, the vast Indian population seems to be in full support of Ms. Khobgrade's prosecution while her supporters seem limited to only fellow civil servants and politicians who are guilty of similar crimes.
    The fact is that nobody (not even the Khobragades) denies that Ms Khobgrade was paying the maid far lesser than she was legally obliged to. Again nobody denies that Ms Khobgrade wilfully lied on a visa application.
    Secondly, the Khobgrades seem to have a record of thinking they are above the law - she owned an apartment (at very favourable rates) in the scandalous Adarsh Housing society (which was meant for Kargil war widows and not fat cat civil servants) and failed to disclose that she already owned another government apartment in the same city. This is against the rules and would have made her ineligible for the second apartment.

    The writer is not balanced and tries to justify the visa crime committed by saying that Ms Khobragade couldn't afford to pay the maid's official salary. That does not justify anything!! What next, leniency for drug smugglers because they needed the extra money to pay for their children's private schools?!!

    How shameful that the Indian government and civil servants are so eager and vocal about defending a clear violation of law and yet appallingly silent when it comes to basic human rights of poor Indian labourers exploited in the Middle East or in this case, poor Indian maid exploited in the US by a fellow Indian who hypocritically claims to be a champion for women's rights and gender equality!!! Whatever the reasons behind it, the fact is that the arrest of Devyani Khobragade is a welcome sign that at least sometime and in some places, the law does work!

    Wake up India, don't support for a wrong cause.
    In Response

    by: Akshay Dubey from: Delhi
    December 18, 2013 9:42 AM
    Well i applaud the stuff stand taken by the Indian govt, regarding this matter.
    The U.S. authorities & the citizens should understand that its not the matter of Slavery or related with an immigrance.
    The manner she was arrested, being a foriegn govt,'s cosulate, for a miniscule allegation was barbaric, being publicly handcuffed and then repeatedly strip-searched, as if she was engaged in a serious crime.

    Apart from the way Mrs. Kobragade was treated, there is an issue whether she broke US law by paying his domestic help less than the minimum wages.
    When i look deeper i found that its totally a grey area. And in that if indeed the law was broken then why did the US embassy gave VISA for domestic help at all, knowing fully well that the minimum wage was actually more than Mrs. Kobragade's own salary !?
    And on the other hand, Indian govt. before hand ensured that the help isn't exploited as the Maid's medical insurance, food, lodging and travel for home for vacation, were all paid by the Indian Government itself.

    This surely, tells us about the double standards in U.S. laws.



    by: Texan from: Texas
    December 17, 2013 6:36 PM
    These over-reactions by India are suicidal to the relationship with the USA as Pakistan may be enjoying it looking at their nuclear arsenal. It seems Indians are corrupt, over-reacting angry upstarts. The USA need to fix this problem.
    In Response

    by: TD from: Belgium
    December 20, 2013 4:48 AM
    Taxas! India is not Afghanistan.. Be careful USA , India is one of most powerful nation in Asia and USA need India more than India do, to fight with china . It seem you have very little knowledge regarding international affair on country's position.

    by: Chinese American from: Washington
    December 17, 2013 4:07 PM
    She got what she really deserved for cheating the system and for bullying and being so mean to a poor maid. That is so typical of an Indian American.

    Indians are known to be mean and disrespectful to "lower class", poor people; while at the same time, kissing up and pretending to be nice to "upper class" or white people. This is from its thousands years of "caste" culture and hundreds of years colonialism under Britain.

    In my opinion, In percentage terms, Indians are the meanest people and most blatant liars and most racist people (towards poor people only, including their own -- poor indians, not towards British or American white people).
    In Response

    by: Tony Singh from: Delhi
    December 18, 2013 9:12 AM
    Get your facts right wise guy. Here are the points for you to ponder upon
    1. The diplomat herself belongs to "Lower caste" you are refering to
    2. No diplomat of developing world gets the salary let alone domestic help.. If USA wants to have diplomatic relations with those countries then it has to accept the fact.
    3. How about wealthy American farmers in down south employing Mexican farm helps for fraction of prescribed wages? Did you ever hear any such farmer put behind bar? After all law is only a Law when country applies it uniformly without prejudice.
    5. Your very act painting all Indians with same brush is a proof that you are a bigger RACIST than the people you accuse of being.


    by: rachel from: london
    December 17, 2013 4:07 PM
    Simple Solution

    India should continue to destroy the middle class of america but now india should accelerate it as a matter of state policy similar to the chinese 1) by exporting and subsidizing its brain power talent of doctors, engineers, scientists and capture the upper income job and wages 2) Outsource everything they has even the basic process to the backwaters of india and futher destroy the lower american wages category.

    In a decade or two with the chinese in the picture america will be left with mcondals, robots doing most factory jobs, the koch brother type conservatives futher destroy americas social and welfare fabric, the mexicans working the illegal economy and the angry white folks wondering what happened to there country and economic story and add in the kim kardashan type highschool kids who do not study math or science to save there lives.. it is so easy to destroy america.. those super shakes, all you can eat buffets, netflix lazy types, welfare retards, no hard work, kanye west, hip hop culture.. hahahahahaha

    devyani will push people to work harder to destroy the american middle class dream forever..

    by: K. Rammurthy from: Gilbert
    December 17, 2013 4:02 PM
    For a nation of a billion scarred by the 2012 rape and murder of “Nirbhaya” the thought of US Marshalls body-cavity-searching a female Indian diplomat for an unrelated, alleged and unproven infraction is judicial rape. Period.

    As a duly sworn in US citizen, My sincere apologies to the Indian diplomat and the nation of India for this state sanctioned rape conducted by my fellow citizen (“US Marshalls”).
    In Response

    by: amir from: detroit
    December 18, 2013 10:59 PM
    how the hell can it be considered rape when the strip search was done by female officers smart one? Just more excuses by white americans to justify your hatred of americas first black president. Simple as that.

    by: Alexander Exum from: Brazil
    December 17, 2013 3:49 PM
    I've been arrested by U.S. Marshall's and know first hand their "Gestopo" mentality. The NYPD is correct in saying they followed standard arresting procedure when they arrested the diplomat, which is to subject everyone to the same humiliating experience, no matter the level of the suspected offense.
    I'm an American citizen living abroad, and returned to the States a few tears ago to answer an indictment concerning Social Security, which was eventually resolved, although it took six months of jail time before it was. Although I had come back on my own, I was denied bail because, since I lived outside of the country, I represented a "flight risk." Not only did they manipulate my. Seating on the plane so that I was seated with a Marshall, but they delayed passengers leaving the plane before they came on put me in leg irons and handcuffs. Coupled with their tactics, my beard and mixed race ethnicity that might profile as Middle Eastern, I'm sure the passengers thought I was a terrorist, or at least a big time criminal. I won't even mention what it was like for a 78 year old man like me to spend six months in a regional jail. The whole experience was an eye opener. It could happen to anyone, diplomatic immunity with standing.

    by: Donald Berrian from: Masschusetts
    December 17, 2013 3:24 PM
    It would be more traditional to just throw her out of the country. In a country like ours with millions of illegals and thousands of sweat shops, a Visa violation hardly constitutes a novelty. These laws are regularly ignored. If there were some evidence of physical abuse of the employee, arresting the employer might be justified. Otherwise, this looks like a very selective enforcement of the laws and doesn't make much sense unless there is some personal grudge involved.

    by: Arun from: Germany
    December 17, 2013 3:10 PM
    United states of Arrogance....
    In Response

    by: amir from: detroit
    December 18, 2013 11:01 PM
    Maybe u europeans should sort out your own problems before attacking america for its problems. God knows your german controlled EU has plenty of them.

    by: KS from: USA
    December 17, 2013 3:03 PM
    So an Indian diplomat abuses her female housekeeper by under paying her in violation of the law and then compounds the offense by fraudulently reporting an over-inflated salary to authorities; then the government of India, a country that treats the brutal rape of it's citizens as a minor irritant, feigns outrage at alleged reports of the diplomat's strip search upon her arrest? Hmmmm, I wonder on which side Gandhii would fall?
    Comments page of 3
     Previous   Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.