December 17, 2013

Indian deputy Consul general Devyani Khobragade arrest case

The arrest of Indian deputy consul general Devyani Khobragade in New York recently has deeply offended India. The diplomat was arrested for alleged visa fraud.

The IFS officer is accused of giving false information while applying for a visa for a “babysitter and housekeeper” she brought from India, and of underpaying the help.

An article published in Times of India says she had limited immunity as a consular officer and could be arrested only if her crime was grave.

Indian officials are arguing if her offenses were so grave, why was she released later on the $250 bill?

Yes, the charge filed against her was indeed grave. If proven guilty, She could get up to 15 years in jail.

While it is understandable why the US authorities took her into custody, I do to understand why will a middle-level diplomat be humiliated in such a way?

What is most disturbing about the incident is that she was publicly handcuffed, humiliatingly strip searched and kept in a cell with drug addicts after her arrest.

Worse still, she was taken into custody on a street in New York as she was dropping her daughter to school. Meaning she was arrested and handcuffed in front of her daughter.

Being a senior foreign diplomat, she had certain rights and therefore had to be treated with decency. But apparently, the US officials were indifferent to her status as a diplomat.

As expected, the angry Indian government has asked all US Consulate personnel and their families to turn in their ID cards immediately.

Infuriated BJP leader Yashwant Singh said, "The media has reported that we have issued visas to a number of US diplomats' companions. Companions means that they are of the same sex. Now, after the Supreme Court Ruling (on gay sex verdict), it is completely illegal in our country. Just as paying fewer wage was illegal in the US. So, why doesn't the Government of India go ahead and arrest all of them! Put them behind bars, prosecute them in this country and punish them?"

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