Devyani Khobragade’s arrest: angry India takes reciprocal steps
Furious with the US for the arrest and alleged strip search of its high-ranking diplomat Devyani Khobragade, India today retaliated with a slew of measures to pare down the privileges of American diplomats.
US diplomats in consulates across India have been asked to surrender identity cards issued to them and their families, which entitle them to special privileges. India has also withdrawn all airport passes for consulates and import clearances for the embassy. The Delhi police have been asked to remove barricades outside the US embassy.
“The law of strict reciprocity is in place, if they say Ms Khobragade had limited immunity then so will US officials” diplomatic sources told NDTV.
Ms Khobragade was subjected to a humiliating strip search and was kept in a cell with drug addicts after her arrest for alleged visa fraud in New York last week. (Read) Noel Clay, a spokesperson for the US State Department, told NDTV that standard procedures had been followed during Ms Khobragade’s arrest. He also said, “Under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the Indian Deputy Consul General enjoys immunity from the jurisdiction of US courts only with respect to acts performed in the exercise of consular functions.”
The US has charged Ms Khobragade with lying on the Visa application for her domestic help, and paying her three dollars an hour, much less than the minimum wage.
“(The US action) is completely unacceptable. We have put in motion what we believe will be an effective way to address this issue and protect her dignity,” said Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid,
India is asking for details like salaries paid to Indian staff employed in US consulates, including those working as domestic helps with the families of American officials.
New Delhi has also asked for the visa details of all teachers at US schools, details of their salary and their bank accounts.
Senior leaders like Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi have refused to meet a visiting US Congress delegation. Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had also cancelled their meetings with the Americans.