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INDIA VOWS TO RESTORE DIGNITY OF DIPLOMAT STRIPPED IN USA


 
Last Friday, Devyani Khobragade, 39, India's Deputy Consul General(photo) has been arrested in New York after she paid her house-keeper only $3.13 an hour and lied to get her into the country, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
She was arrested Thursday and released on $250,000 bail after surrendering her passport so she can't flee the country. 
She faces one count of visa fraud and one count of making false statements. If convicted, the charges carry a total maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Khobragade's lawyer on Thursday said that his client enjoys diplomatic immunity and said he would moved to have the charges dismissed on those grounds. But U.S. Attorney for Manhattan  Preet Bharara was adamant.
According to US Marshals Service Khobragade, 39, had been strip-searched like other prisoners after being detained while dropping her two children off at school.

  • However, India vowed on Wednesday to bring one of its diplomats home at any price after her arrest in New York, as she told how she broke down in tears after being stripped and cavity-searched.
  • As a leading daily hailed the government for “taking on Uncle Sam”, Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid pledged to “restore the dignity” of the diplomat—whose treatment at the hands of a superpower has touched a raw nerve in India.
  • Khurshid’s promise came a day after India announced a series of reprisals and despite an overnight plea by the US State Department not to allow the row to damage relations.
  • “It is my duty to bring the lady back,” Khurshid told lawmakers.
  • “We have to restore her dignity and I will do it at any cost,” he added in the highest-level intervention by an Indian official since deputy consul general Devyani Khobragade was arrested last Thursday.
  • With a general election just months away, the ruling Congress and the nationalist opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are both keen to be seen as standing up to the United States over the issue.
  • Yashwant Sinha, a former BJP foreign minister, said Tuesday that India should now arrest American gays who were in India after a ruling last week that upheld a colonial-era ban on homosexuality.
  • “India takes on Uncle Sam,” read the front-page headline of The Hindustan Times, while the Mail Today splashed with “Bulldozer Diplomacy” on top of a picture of a digger dragging away concrete barricades outside the US embassy on Tuesday.
  • US consular officials have also been told to return identity cards that speed up travel into and through India. Import clearances for them, including for alcohol, have been suspended.
  • The ultra-nationalist Shiv Sena organization staged an anti-US protest on Wednesday, shouting slogans such as “Down with Barack Obama!”
  • “The way America has tortured our diplomat is wrong. They stripped her down and humiliated an Indian woman, an Indian representative and we will not tolerate that,” said Jaiprakash Baghal, one of the protesters.
Another could be seen naked except for an American flag wrapped around his waist and a mask of US President Barack Obama as the demonstrators marched towards the American embassy.

State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf admitted the arrest was a “sensitive issue” but insisted it was a “separate and isolated incident” which should not be allowed to affect broader ties.

Harf added that as a consular official, Khobragade does not have full diplomatic immunity but has consular immunity applicable only to her professional duties.

Source: Mail Online, Agencies
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