Indian Diplomat’s Arrest in New York Sparks Row With U.S.

Indian officials call the arrest and treatment of their deputy consul in New York City "barbaric" and have meted out retaliatory measures on U.S. diplomats based in India

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Saurabh Das / AP

Indian workers remove a barricade that had been erected as a safety measure outside the main entrance of the U.S embassy in New Delhi Dec. 17, 2013, reportedly in retaliation to the alleged mistreatment of New York City–based Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade

The arrest and treatment in custody of an Indian diplomat in New York City has caused an uproar in India, and a week after the incident, there are signs of an all-out diplomatic row with the U.S.

The fracas began on Dec. 12 when Devyani Khobragade, India’s deputy consul general in New York City, was arrested while she dropped her daughter off at school. According to Khobragade’s attorney, she was publicly handcuffed, strip-searched, kept in a cell with drug addicts and finally released on $250,000 bail. Khobragade is accused of submitting false documents on an application for her housekeeper to live and work in the U.S. and not paying the housekeeper a minimum wage.

Khobragade’s treatment while in custody, particularly the report that she was strip-searched, has caused an uproar in India. As a consular official, under the U.N.’s 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, Khobragade does have limited diplomatic immunity for work in the official line of duty. Under those guidelines, consular officials can still be arrested or detained for a felony. If American prosecutors pursue a full case, they will likely argue that the charges against Khobragade — one count of visa fraud and one count of making false statements — are not related to her official duties. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years and five years, respectively, and Khobragade’s attorney has said she plans to challenge the arrest on the grounds of diplomatic immunity.

Many in India object to the idea that Khobragade was treated like a “common criminal” when she was arrested and booked. “As a father I feel hurt, our entire family is traumatized,” Uttam Khobragade told the TimesNow TV news channel. National-security adviser Shivshankar Menon called her treatment “despicable and barbaric.” The official statement from the Indian government said it was “shocked and appalled at the manner in which the diplomat had been humiliated.”

But the fallout did not end with expressions of umbrage. Bulldozers removed security barriers outside the U.S. embassy in New Delhi, and U.S. diplomats and their families are being stripped of ID cards that make clearances easier. “We will deal with them exactly the same way they are dealing with us. Not anything more, not anything less,” Ravi Shankar Prasad, leader of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, told reporters. “While the U.S. doesn’t provide many courtesies to our diplomats, we go out of the way not to withhold those facilities.”

Political leaders from both the ruling and opposition parties refused to meet with an American congressional delegation visiting Delhi this week; Narendra Modi, the BJP’s candidate for Prime Minister, explained his snub on Twitter, saying he “refused to meet the visiting USA delegation in solidarity with our nation, protesting ill-treatment meted to our lady diplomat in USA.”

Khobragade’s arrest is certainly not the first time American legal procedures have sparked outrage in the home country of a prominent international figure. In May 2011, when then International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested in New York City on charges of sexually assaulting a hotel maid, he was marched into the police precinct in handcuffs before an assembled bank of photographers. The so-called perp walk, which is standard fare in the U.S., caused outrage in Strauss-Kahn’s native France. Indeed, two years after the charges against him were dropped and he returned to France, Strauss-Kahn said he was still angry at his treatment while in custody. It also stands in stark contrast to the measures the U.S. itself often uses when its diplomats and government employees run afoul of the law overseas.

In Washington, a State Department spokeswoman said that the diplomatic security team that arrested Khobragade followed standard procedures and turned her over to the U.S. Marshals for processing. If the Strauss-Kahn incident is any indication, Khobragade isn’t likely to get any apologies from local authorities. The American process of law and order has sparked outrage before; the only question in this case is how long this diplomatic row will continue between two countries that have an important relationship.

754 comments
rajput.ashutosh
rajput.ashutosh

Whats wrong with it?????


How can we trust that he is not the nexxt David Headley (the american citizen) who was accused for 2008 mumbai terror attacks?


How can america even send such a request. This guy should go through "STANDARD PROCEDURES" of Indian law. Even if it takes years.


Namaste. 

allzinfo
allzinfo

YES BUDDY MYVIEWS XX . YOU ARE RIGHT .  SHOW THEM THEIR PLACE

DeeTAndrino
DeeTAndrino

Maybe we should bring our jobs back ... since they Hate us so much ... You are no better than I Doc.!  Taxpayers are Treated worse than you were in Florida ... NY is a Kind Prison State ! 

MuhammadFarhaanKazi
MuhammadFarhaanKazi

In criminal procedure all are equal. Police should them treat them same whether they are minister, diplomat or common man. The image of indian politician and govt employees are not good they are corrupt and does not pay heed to problem of common man so how other countries respect our country's govt official and leaders. In case of Bollywood star, we expect VIP treatment from foreign countries but why so. Film Star are film star. They have not done any great reform and scientific invention for human benefit

MyViewsXX
MyViewsXX

It is time to teach US a lesson all over this world and show its place. 

SelvaTagesh
SelvaTagesh

India unfortunately has become a terrible place. Think of the two years detention of two Italian Marines  kept for an evelasting so called trial that should not even have started... Indian autorities do not care about others, as the lady showed clearly. If some people like to be diplomats, they should fist of all learn well other countries' laws and take care not to break them.

Davis-GuessWendy
Davis-GuessWendy

There is no slave labor in America?  http://forum.mtstars.com/518693.html  I work with thousands of women who are working for slave wages at this very moment.  Outsourcing jobs to India has resulted in this.  Our own organization introduced our work to "emerging" economies after we paid them monthly dues for years.  The created an Indian affiliate and made it easy for US medical facilities to have their work done by medical language specialists in India who make - guess what - $3.00 a day.


Hypocritical American spokespersons are distorting THE FACTS.  Slave labor is alive and well in America, so is financial ruin, homeless, fraud, corruption. 

babluji
babluji

The Indian uproar over an arrest of one of India's deputy consuls (Devyani Khobragade) to the USA helps us refocus our attention on its societies and see how badly their sense of justice or fairness has fallen into abeyance.

What those police officers and American government have done in connection with her (Devyani Khobragade) arrest is absolutely legal and morally right in anyway we slice it. According to 'Vienna Convention' she does not get full diplomatic immunity rather limited diplomatic immunity for which she could not escape a criminal charge and arrest for an act of crime (non-consular functions related) she committed consciously in relation to the US domestic and international laws.

Indian societies in general are still so far-out and uncivilized to the extent; as a Bangladeshi I find India as a dystopia. When it comes to probity in connection with their social interactions involving personal or public sphere, they lie at the bottom of the scale. In any event you would hardly ever find anyone who would not only be talking through his hat but also would be lying through his teeth. Getting ahead with fraudulent means is a widely common practice at all levels and it's done with adequate impunity at all times. Indians have extremely low sense of human rights, or have no regards for human rights at all. You won't find a business culture there that embraces a breath of business ethics, values, corporate responsibilities, belief in common good etc. Indians are generally so full of themselves that your first contact with them would reveal that. It is their common social norm to put on airs at all events.

So why they will not advocate for evils by favoring a corrupt affluent government official like Devyani Khobragade over a poor wretched lower class maid who has been preordained to get a raw deal by their very Indian complex of societies

sanjajain
sanjajain

I have been reading the various comments with some sort of amusement.

How many know the sequence of events?I'll just point out the highlights:-

1. Devyani went to New york in Nov.2012. her domestic help, Sangeeta also went with her.

2. In June 2013 the domestic help took money AND a WHOLE lot of other things, and disappeared.

3. US state dept. was informed who referred the Khopragade's to the NYPD.

4. NYPD refused to take a complaint on the grounds that only a family member can register a complaint.

5. Sangeeta's husband in Delhi refuses to file a complaint and lies that he does not know the whereabouts of sangeeta.

6. From Sangeeta's husband's mobile a number is located.

7. Sangeeta contacts Devyani through a lawyer and demand$10,000 + A normal Indian Passport + HELp in getting a US green card.

8.Sangeeta refuses as this is way beyond her powers & informs US State Dept.

9.Sangeeta 's father approaches the court who takes the following action :- revokes Sangeeta's passport, issues arrest warrant, orders India's foreign ministry to seek US help to repatriate Sangeeta AND orders Sangeeta not permitted to file any case against Devyani outside Delhi.

10 US embassy in New Delhi informed and help requested to bring back Sangeeta.

11. State Dept also informed and help requested to bring back Sangeeta.

12. A total of 5 different official request sent to US authorities & not one was replied to.

13. Only Us communication was in Sept which was generic about minimum wages to domestic and possible violation by an India staff member.

14. On 10 Dec. Sangeeta's family quietly flown out of India (evacuated?)

15 On 11th December, India's foreign secy was in New York and She was not informed about Sangeeta's impending arrest.

16.On 12th December Sangeeta arrested in front of her childrens school, Handcuffed there and taken to the station where she was handed over to the US Marshall's- Stripped, cavity searched and locked up with Prostitutes & Drug addicts.


After reading the above how many still feel that India's reaction is not correct?


Please also remember Raymond Davies.

Also comment what US would do if thje same happens to an American official in India?

Even today one of your Diplomats has a same sex "companion" living here in India.( Homosexuality is a crime here in India)

krakatoa77
krakatoa77

Cavity Search? Was she sexually violated? I don't think most Asians are very enthusiastic about being naked in front of strangers not much less than happy about being subjected to cavity search too.Okay I agree she has to be arrested for cheating on her employees wages.

ZackSelzman
ZackSelzman

It is not the rate of pay, it is the inability to quit; it is the threat of being raped if they tried to quit.  They were not "employees", even though they were receiving a wage they were slaves.  They had no freedom, and they were threatened with severe bodily harm.

NiuChang
NiuChang

This indian slave master diplomat has no shame and no basic human decency in enslaving a fellow human being, and a fellow Indian maid, one of her own!

Remember the infamous indian american cheaters such as Rajat Gupta, former McKinsey CEO and Goldman director,  Bob Moffat, senior vice president and general manager of IBM's Systems and Technology Group; Rajiv Goel, director of strategic investments at Intel Capital; Anil Kumar, a director at management consultancy McKinsey & Co; and Raj Rajaratnam, the founder of the $7bn Galleon Group hedge fund.", and his brother cheater Rengan Rajaratnam (yes, Raj is from Sri Lanka Tamil, but still the same indian cheating and "caste" culture, which bully and trample upon the dignity of the poor and "lower class" people, especially their own, at the same time, kiss up western, white elites. )

This indian diplomat is so typical of the Indians in America and she simply got what she really deserved for cheating the system and for bullying and being so mean to a poor maid. That is so typical of an Indian American.

Indians are known to be mean and disrespectful to "lower class", poor people; while at the same time, kissing up and pretending to be nice to "upper class" or white people. This is from its thousands years of "caste" culture and hundreds of years colonialism under Britain.

In my opinion, in percentage terms, Indians are the meanest people and most blatant liars and most racist people (towards poor people only,  including their own -- poor indians, and other South Asian and Chinese, not towards British or American white elite.)

Nowadays, I started to notice the "rich" Indian Americans started to treat even poor American whites the same way they treat poor Indians and Asians.

lllefty28
lllefty28

The US has violated traditional Indian custom of mistreating servants by arresting an Indian female simply for treating the woman as she would have had home.  Don't we have any respect for those who work their servants 16-18 hours seven days a week,. Have we no respect for other cultures?

ScallywagNYC
ScallywagNYC

One wonders further if Khobragade had come to believe her own infallibility that she could in fact behave at will and that her stupor at being held accountable for her deeds wasn’t really the result of being subjected to normal due process (amongst drug dealers and commoners to boot as she condescendingly put it) but the fact that authorities had the audacity to hold her accountable in the first place, which posits the question how was it feasible that the woman who portends a history of defending women’s rights could herself misbehave to the extent she did without the fear of consequences? 


Kudos for me if I win, double down if I lose and don’t you dare make a scene or humiliate me…


http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2013/12/should-the-us-apologize-to-devyani-khobragade/

India_Bangalore
India_Bangalore

How much does US embassy pay for their domestic help that they recruit locally? If anybody is employed under US govt. are they not subject to US minimum wage?

slinhart72
slinhart72

Sad day when the Indian gov't better understands individual dignity and reasonable respect of individual rights than the American gov't. Our law enforcement agencies have become such cowards.

jojiav
jojiav

Hi Obama,

Please remember that we are not Pakinstan. We are started to react well and will continue this.

rsimha
rsimha

As I understand from Mr Preet, this is only a case of WAGES and she WAS Actually handcuffed NOT 'THEN' IN PUBLIC BUT LATER. Handcuffing is ONLY for criminals who are a THREAT.

There was no abuse of maid. WAGES was the ONLY Actual problem.


I am a software engineer and my company used to pay me about 5000$. I pay with this amount to the tax, medical insurance, car, electricity, rent, food, internet, cable etc.


A maid's account is credited with Rs30,000 SAVINGS along with ALL expenses paid by the EMPLOYER.


Think about it.. Is thIS Maid really Underpaid

KennethLyPhan
KennethLyPhan

America is a very bad country, Please dont go there .To all our friends, Indians should not visit, or/and go to stay in USA.

Stay away from this nation. KP

Mac_the_Nice
Mac_the_Nice

According to CBS also, Ms.Devyani Khobragade reports that she was subjected to body cavity invasion during those strip searches . . .


http://www.cbsnews.com/news/india-protests-arrest-...

Remember the "Nannygate" scandal that erupted during confirmation hearings for Clinton administration appointee, Zoë Baird to the office of Attorney General?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nannygate

Why was no arrest and body cavity search done upon Ms. Baird then? What has changed with all this Hope & Change we've got going on now? Maybe Assange, Manning and Snowden do have us dead to rights about the totalitarian nature of this present regime in the White House?

I sympathize with India's outrage. And if this should bring on another Benghazi, will we ALL then recognize the level of incompetence and arrogant stupidity to which this government has fallen since the day Zoë Baird was not manually raped and sexually assaulted by this government over virtually the same thing? And why should we not call upon the World Court to look into this matter?

RyanAcres
RyanAcres


Dear Preet Bharara,

It's so obvious that you are a big time manipulator and an exemplary hypocrite! All Indians should demand the immediate arrest and execution of U.S. spy Rosanna Minchew, while the Devyani search episode is still hot and alive. Rosanna Minchew, a U.S. spy working at the U.S. Embassy in India, was allowed safe passage by the Indian govt. even after she was caught red handed in a spy scandal. Ideally, she should have been strip searched and sentenced to death in India. Rosanna stole important national security information from India's Research & Analysis Wing (RAW), but the U.S. pressurized the India govt. into letting her go. She was NOT EVEN arrested. Yet another
example of U.S. hypocrisy and double standards.

Preet, here's my question: Will you also make a statement in support of Rosanna?

NickNYC
NickNYC

Actually Vienna Convention on Consular Relations provides Consular Protection for not only consular staff but also their private staff from applying for work permits and social security cover in host nations. 


The very case is in the grey areas, in such light her grounds of an arrest are on thin ice. The Russians are super cool when it comes to this, they stared back and Mr Preet Bharara was forced to cower down.


Read Articles 41 through 48:

http://legal.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/conventions/9_2_1963.pdf


m.cusumano
m.cusumano

Homosexual sex is illegal in India.  The U.S. cannot expect special treatment for it's embassy employees after this ridiculous display of brutality by the U.S. authorities.  That means all the U.S. homosexual partners living with embassy staff in india should be arrested, and tried.  It's only fair, and it's what the U.S. demands.


 Why didn't the U.S. authorities simply issue the Indian consular employee a subpoena?  There was no reason at all to arrest her, and certainly no reason to search her in any way, much less conduct cavity searches.  The U.S. authorities knew exactly what they ere doing.  They are sending a message that the U.S. is a force that nobody is safe from.  It's a move designed to subjugate india mentally as a nation.  

Fact remains, this domestic worker is making a fortune working for this diplomate in terms of indian wages, and she/he is very lucky to have the job.  Indian people know this, so there is no victim her, except the diplomat.  Now the domestic worker is fired, but she probably wanted to get status in the U.S., and by turning in her employer they granted her a permanent visa and work permit in return.  That's a nice little incentive to make up a story against her employee.


If I were indian prime minters

Observer001
Observer001

I agree with many indignant Americans here and I hope she is punished - exactly the same way American politicians caught in the same act were punished. 


Check out this readily available list of highly placed Americans employing and underpaying illegal migrants, and tell me if any of them were strip/cavity searched?  The list includes an aspiring governor.


http://www.ranker.com/list/top-6-anti-immigration-activists-caught-using-illegal-labor/melodyyan


Would you agree some serious double standards are at play here? 


Once again I emphasize this diplomat should be punished - but in a manner commensurate with her offence and proportionate to other offenders such as on the above list.

rajput.ashutosh
rajput.ashutosh

@SelvaTagesh  


Italian marines killed innocent Indian fisherman. Why should India not jail them?


2008 mumbai attacks were planned with help of an american citizen (David Headley), how can we trust this guy?


You might not know but India is ranked above Afganistan and Syria in most dangerous places on earth....Based on terror attacks.


You think India should always say Namaste to others and let them do whatever they want? I feel you need to open your eyes and don't be so biased.


Namaste.

dddsed
dddsed

@babluji  Google : Diplomatic Abuse of Servants: Not Just for Indians

dddsed
dddsed

@ZackSelzman You need help. See a doctor. Your ability to understand things and not just make up stuff is absolutely alarming. 

axxymax
axxymax

@ZackSelzman well mr. zach. what part of cavity search do you not understand. where is the practice of probing in vajina and rearhole and mouth a standard procedure for wage disputes. Besides if it was a fraud a simple deportation would have done the public spectacle was not needed also if laws are to be enforced then I agree with mr yashwant sinha of jailing all gay us embassiets and probe them in their vajina and rearhole. 

rajput.ashutosh
rajput.ashutosh

@NiuChang  The diplomat is of lowest cast sir and the whole India support her against US wrong doings.


At the same time whole India supports her arrest in India for some scams.


BTW don't say bad things about Indian.. Looking at your user name, I cam go on for ever about your race. So lets have some fake respect for each other.


Namaste. 

karthik
karthik

@lllefty28 well, the money she was allegedly paid by her, is the average salary earned by engineers and doctors in India even now. I would say that is a good salary as she had her stay, food and medical salaries taken care of already

JFA
JFA

@jojiav President Obama did not do this.!!!!

mmkamble1
mmkamble1

@jojiav you know about his paki roommate and stay in pukistan.. no need to be polite with this man... when we say pls americans think we are being weak

ZackSelzman
ZackSelzman

@rsimhaYou are either free to leave an employer or you are not.  The wages were not the problem, the problem was the threat of bodily harm if the maid attempted to leave her employment.  The police were acting on the information that this woman was being kept as a slave.  Two previous maids have made the same accusations, that Indian Embassy representatives were keeping them as slaves, and that they were threatened with bodily harm.  This is not an isolated accusation by the maid it is a pattern.  The Indian embassy was already aware that they could not keep maids and abuse them the way that they do in India.  In the United States you can not threaten employees with bodily harm and you can not prevent them from leaving by locking them up.

JFA
JFA

@Mac_the_Nice If you are arrested in most states in the US you will be handcuffed and if you are put in jail you will be stripped searched no matter who you are or what the crime may be.

JFA
JFA

@m.cusumano Does making a law stop people from being who they are or do what they want to do. What proof does India have that US embassy employees are homosexual or for that matter that they are having sex.

Well if India tries to arrest the so called homosexual US citizens that work in the US Embassy in India, the US should close the US Embassy and make the Indian Embassy in the US close and Embassy personnel return to India. Now doesn't that sound stupid.

Stop this madness now. We are all thinking humanbeings.  This is no way to solve the problem that exists.

Singh_Babu
Singh_Babu

@m.cusumano  " It's a move designed to subjugate india mentally as a nation."


Exactly.....and we are giving befitting reply to them. They need to understand 20th century might have been an American century but 21st century is not. The sooner they understand the better.



NaliniMani
NaliniMani

@m.cusumano unless diplomats state that they might be living together but do not have sex.. ha then waht.  Position IAS officers inside the bedroom to watch.  ridiculous.  Fact remains is that she lied and committed visa fraud as an officer repsentating a sovereign nation.. but hey no biggie right?  In india felons become MPs so who cares thats he did soething illegal?

ZackSelzman
ZackSelzman

@Observer001None of those people locked their maids up or threatened them with bodily harm if they attempted to leave.

JFA
JFA

@Observer001 We don't have all of the facts to make a determination whether she is guilty or not. She is innocent until proven guilty.  The key word is that she is innocent.  She has only been charged.

JFA
JFA

@vafars @KennethLyPhan America is not lame.  Every country you live in will have customs, laws or whatever people will not like.  You saying America is lame your personal opinion.  Why is America lame?  Don't just say America is lame, explain why you think the way you do. America has its issues, but is still a great country and more tolerant than any other country in the world.  Yes, I love my country and I would not live anywhere else.

mmkamble1
mmkamble1

@NaliniMani @m.cusumano i think you would love some cavity search dont you? you are new indian shona chaudhary honey... fake feminist