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Indian official: Diplomat's arrest in NYC barbaric

posted 12/17/2013 1:29:02 PM |
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  StraddleMyNose


All I have to say is that if you can't obey the laws of our country, then don't come over here. Hopefully we stick to our guns and not waver on this.


NEW DELHI (AP) — The arrest and alleged strip search of an Indian diplomat in New York City escalated into a major diplomatic furor Tuesday as India's national security adviser called the woman's treatment "despicable and barbaric."


Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general in New York, is accused of submitting false documents to obtain a work visa for her Manhattan housekeeper. Indian officials said she was arrested and handcuffed Thursday as she dropped off her daughter at school, and was kept in a cell with drug addicts before posting $250,000 bail.

A senior Indian official confirmed reports that she also was strip-searched, which has been portrayed in India as the most offensive and troubling part of the arrest. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

India was ready to retaliate against American diplomats in India by threatening to downgrade privileges and demanding information about how much they pay their Indian household staff, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

Police also removed the traffic barricades near the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, a demand by the Indian government in retaliation for Khobragade's treatment, PTI reported. The barriers were a safety measure.

"We got orders to remove the concrete barriers," said Amardeep Sehgal, station house officer of the Chanakyapuri police station, the one nearest the embassy. "They were obstructing traffic on the road." He refused to say who had given the orders.

Calls to the U.S. Embassy were not immediately returned Tuesday.

National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon slammed Khobragade's treatment in New York.

"It is despicable and barbaric," he said.

Prosecutors in New York say Khobragade, 39, claimed she paid her Indian maid $4,500 per month but actually paid her less than the U.S. minimum wage. In order for diplomats and consular officers to get a visa for their personal employees, known as an A-3 visa, they must show proof that the applicant will receive a fair wage, comparable to employment in the U.S., U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement last week.

Federal prosecutors say Khobragade told the housekeeper she would be paid 30,000 rupees per month — about $573, or $3.31 per hour. The woman worked for the family from about November 2012 through June 2013, and said she worked far more than 40 hours per week and was paid even less than 30,000 rupees, prosecutors said.


Khobragade has pleaded not guilty and plans to challenge the arrest on grounds of diplomatic immunity, her lawyer said last week.

If convicted, Khobragade faces a maximum sentence of 10 years for visa fraud and five years for making a false declaration.

Her case quickly became a major story in India, with politicians urging diplomatic retaliation and TV news channels showing the woman in a series of smiling family photos.

That reaction may look outsized in the United States, but the case touches on a string of issues that strike deeply in India, where the fear of public humiliation resonates strongly and heavy-handed treatment by the police is normally reserved for the poor. For an educated, middle-class woman to face public arrest and a strip search is almost unimaginable, except in the most brutal crimes.

Far less serious protocol complaints have become big issues in the past. Standard security checks in the U.S. regularly are front-page news here when they involve visiting Indian dignitaries, who are largely exempt from friskings while at home.


India's former speaker of Parliament, Somnath Chatterjee, once refused to attend an international meeting in Australia when he wasn't given a guarantee that he would not have to pass through security. Chatterjee said even the possibility of a security screening was "an affront to India."

The treatment and pay of household staff, meanwhile, is largely seen as a family issue, off-limits to the law.

The fallout from the arrest was growing. On Tuesday, Indian political leaders from both the ruling party and the opposition refused to meet with the U.S. congressional delegation in New Delhi. The Indian government said it was "shocked and appalled at the manner in which the diplomat had been humiliated" in the U.S.

Indian Foreign Secretary Sujata Singh summoned U.S. Ambassador Nancy Powell to register a complaint.

Continued in comments...

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Comments:

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StraddleMyNose

Dec 17 @ 1:39PM  
...continued from blog...

In Washington, U.S. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said Tuesday that the department's diplomatic security team followed standard procedures during the arrest. After her arrest, Khobragade was handed over to U.S. marshals for intake and processing, she said.

Harf also noted that there is diplomatic immunity and consular immunity. Under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the Indian deputy consul general enjoys immunity from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts only with respect to acts performed in the exercise of consular functions, she said.

Khobragade's father, Uttam Khobragade, told the TimesNow TV news channel on Tuesday that his daughter's treatment was "absolutely obnoxious."

"As a father I feel hurt, our entire family is traumatized," he said.

Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said there were "larger issues" involved in the case, but did not elaborate.

"We will deal with them in good time," he said.


Yahoo.com


News story with pics
sugarnspice005

Dec 17 @ 1:44PM  
There are different levels in our legal system. State, Federal, and then we have International.

The strip search seems to be a bit extreme for a charge of visa fraud, and does create a bit of a diplomatic problem.

But, if it is proven she intentionally committed fraud, then yes, she should face prosecution. But, there is that sticky point of diplomatic immunity......and she may be protected under that.

International law also plays a role because when dealing with different nations, we also consider different cultural beliefs and customs, and all should be respected.

I have a feeling the most she may see out of this is a hefty fine and a stern warning.
StraddleMyNose

Dec 17 @ 2:21PM  
I'm tired of some Diplomats coming over here thinking that they can do absolutely everything they want and get away with it. This has gone on for years with various diplomats purposely trying to test our laws and patience.

My tolerance for crap is right out the window!
sugarnspice005

Dec 17 @ 3:33PM  
Hey, I'm in agreement with you....they break our laws, they get punished under our laws. Same goes for our people in other countries...break their laws, get punished under their laws.

No one should get special treatment because of what country they come from. Anywhere.
Wordsofwit

Dec 17 @ 11:35PM  
So why is this important or interesting
StraddleMyNose

Dec 17 @ 11:50PM  
So then why are you wasting your time commenting then?
Wordsofwit

Dec 18 @ 1:44AM  
So then why are you wasting your time commenting then?

I figure that if I spent a minute and half reading it, seventeen more seconds commenting was less of a waste than the 90 second read
RJ53

Dec 19 @ 3:30AM  
I think the strip search was going overboard and a diplomat should have never been put in the general population in jail, Can you imagine what would happened if she had been physically harmed by other inmates while in custody? India is an important ally in the region in a strategic location, Not a good idea to piss off their government over this, I think she should be fined if she was underpaying her employee and telling the government she was paying her more but if she goes to jail it is going to cause the country more trouble than it is worth, And there is this thing of diplomatic immunity which has its purpose and will not be changed, I seriously doubt the charges will stick even if they ever make it to court, In their culture the strip search was a huge insult and should not have been done of a non violent crime, How would we like it if one of our diplomats was stripped searched by Indian police? I am betting someone at the precinct is in a bit of trouble about now,
StraddleMyNose

Dec 19 @ 7:35AM  
I don't like the fact that the Indian government has taken apart our U.S. embassy's barricades protecting our people from terrorism such as some terrorist(s) trying to ram our embassy with their vehicle, or getting close enough to set off a car bomb.

Terrorism is a real threat, especially to Americans around the world, and to put our peoples lives at risk is.....there's no excuse for this!

I think the strip search was going overboard
Okay, I'll give ya that one, but the Indian government is putting our peoples lives into danger over there at our U.S. Embassy, and inciting more and more anger and violence with a lot of their protests over this strip search.

I think the strip search was going overboard and a diplomat should have never been put in the general population in jail, Can you imagine what would happened if she had been physically harmed by other inmates while in custody? India is an important ally in the region in a strategic location, Not a good idea to piss off their government over this, I think she should be fined if she was underpaying her employee and telling the government she was paying her more but if she goes to jail it is going to cause the country more trouble than it is worth, And there is this thing of diplomatic immunity which has its purpose and will not be changed, I seriously doubt the charges will stick even if they ever make it to court, In their culture the strip search was a huge insult and should not have been done of a non violent crime, How would we like it if one of our diplomats was stripped searched by Indian police? I am betting someone at the precinct is in a bit of trouble about now,
Hey, it was your Obama's State Dept. that caused this mess by doing what they did.




RJ53

Dec 19 @ 8:49PM  
Actually it was the US Marshals who arrested her and since she was a low level diplomat I doubt no one in the administration had even been told about it until after the fact, Someone did not use common sense in the situation because they should have known this was not going to go over well.
StraddleMyNose

Dec 19 @ 9:01PM  
It still falls under the U.S. State Dept.

The responsibilities of the U.S. State Dept.

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Indian official: Diplomat's arrest in NYC barbaric