News Column

India Retaliates for Arrest of Diplomat in New York

December 17, 2013

Japan Economic Newswire

Indian gov't takes measures to protest U.S. treatment of diplomat
Japan Economic Newswire (Published: 17-Dec 2013 7:15 AM, Received: 7:13:05 AM)
Word Count: 406
NEW DELHI, Dec. 17 -- (Kyodo) _ India on Tuesday removed police security barricades from around the U.S. Embassy, stripped U.S. diplomats and their families of privileges and took various other measures to retaliate for the treatment of one of its diplomats arrested in the United States.

Among the measures India has taken, all airport passes for U.S. diplomatic personnel have been withdrawn and import clearances for the embassy stopped, including those for liquor, for example.

Indian leaders and officials have also displayed their displeasure by cancelling their meetings with a visiting U.S. congressional delegation.

Suspected by U.S. law enforcement authorities of visa fraud, India's Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade was taken into custody in New York last Thursday while dropping her daughter at school, apparently on the basis of allegations raised by her former maid.

The 39-year-old mother of two was reportedly handcuffed in public, strip-searched in jail and placed in a cell along with drug addicts and hardened criminals before being released on bond.

The incident has emerged as a big diplomatic irritant between the two countries, attracting immense criticism from all corners of the Indian society.

Earlier, India's Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh had summoned U.S. Ambassador Nancy Powell to strongly protest the treatment of Khobragade.

According to a statement issued by the Indian Embassy in Washington, India "is shocked and appalled at the manner in which she has been humiliated by the U.S. authorities."

"It was also conveyed in no uncertain terms that this kind of treatment to one of our diplomats is absolutely unacceptable. The U.S. State Department has been called upon to resolve the matter at the earliest."

On Monday, U.S. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said personnel of the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service, under the State Department, "followed our standard procedures" when they arrested the Indian deputy consul general.

They then turned her over to the U.S. Marshals Service, under the Justice Department, "for intake and processing."

Harf said that under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, she enjoys immunity from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts "only with respect to acts performed in the exercise of consular functions."

"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," she said, while referring questions about her treatment in custody to the Justice Department.

(c) 2013 Kyodo News International, Inc.

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Source: (c) 2013 Kyodo News International, Inc.

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