Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Devyani Khobragade, Indian Consul General to U.S. strip searched by NYPD

Story from the Times of India, article link here
Generally every diplomat regardless of country in the world has diplomatic immunity that protects them from being humiliated or treated as a criminal in the countries they serve. However, diplomatic immunity was denied to Counsler General Devyani based at Consulate General of India in New York, US. 

Diplomat Devyani strip-searched, India snubs US team


Diplomatic row: India-US standoff escalates

Diplomatic row: India-US standoff escalates
NEW DELHI: India's deputy consul general inNew York Devyani Khobragade was strip-searched and confined with drug addicts after her detention in a visa fraud case. She was also subjected to DNA swabbing.

On Monday, India retaliated against the US for the humiliation of diplomat with Speaker Meira Kumar and NSA Shivshankar Menon refusing to meet a Congressional delegation on Monday.

Sources confirmed that the government made it a point to convey to the delegation that the Speaker was not going to receive them because she had been deeply troubled by the manner in which Khobragade, who is accused of visa fraud, had been dealt with by the US authorities.

The 1999-batch IFS officer, working as India's deputy consul general in New York, was detained from near the school of her children and later handcuffed.

Menon too chose not to meet the delegation because of the same reason. Like Kumar, Khobragade also is a dalit IFS officer.

Khurshid meets team

Foreign minister Salman Khurshid did meet the delegation though keeping in mind the seniority of the Congressmen. The five-member delegation was led by Congressman George Holding, Representative for North Carolina's 13th congressional district, who serves on the foreign affairs committee and judiciary committee.

The four other Congressmen are Pete OlsonDavid SchweikertRobert Woodall and Madeliene Bordallo.

India has been deeply offended by the manner in which Khobragade was treated by the US authorities who chose to ignore her status as a middle-level diplomat from a friendly country. It has continued to emphasize before the state department that the treatment meted out to Khobragade was in complete violation of Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR).

As a consular officer, Khobragade had certain privileges — even if she did not have diplomatic immunity — which New Delhi believes were denied to her. She had limited immunity as a consular officer and could be arrested only if her crime was grave. The government is backing Khobragade's lawyer's contention that if her crime was indeed grave, why she was released on bail just two hours after her arrest.

The state department earlier responded to the summoning of envoy Nancy Powell by foreign secretary Sujatha Singh by declaring that the consular officer did not have immunity under VCCR. India, however, sees this as an attempt to deflect attention from the real issue — the humiliation in public of an Indian diplomat.

New Delhi has highlighted how the US authorities had violated Article 41 (Section 3) of VCCR which says that proceedings against a consular officer "shall be conducted with the respect due to him by reason of his official position."

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