The arrest and strip search of Indian diplomat, Devyani Khobragade 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 said U.S. authorities subjected her to a strip search, cavity search and DNA swabbing following her arrest on visa charges in New York City, despite her “incessant assertions of immunity.”
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.
Ms Khobragade has been widely criticized for allegedly paying her housekeeper a salary of $3.31 an hour, well below U.S. minimum wage.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described the diplomat’s treatment as “deplorable.”
The case has sparked widespread outrage in India and infuriated the government, which revoked privileges for U.S. diplomats to protest her treatment. It has cast a pall over India-U.S. relations, which have cooled in recent years despite a 2008 nuclear deal that was hailed as a high point in the nations’ ties.
Devyani Khobragade, India’s deputy consul general in New York, was arrested Thursday outside of her daughter’s Manhattan school on charges that she lied on a visa application about how much she paid her housekeeper, an Indian national.
In an email published in India media on Wednesday, Khobragade said she was treated like a common criminal.
The Indian diplomat released a statement saying, “I broke down many times as the indignities of repeated handcuffing, stripping and cavity searches, swabbing, in a holdup with common criminals and drug addicts were all being imposed upon me despite my incessant assertions of immunity,’ she wrote. ‘I got the strength to regain composure and remain dignified thinking that I must represent all of my colleagues and my country with confidence and pride.”
Devyani Khobragade has now been transferred to her country’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations – ensuring her complete immunity from US prosecution.
Devyani Khobragade Controversy Continues Following Arrest of Indian Diplomat in New York.