Treatment of Indian diplomat arrested for fraud draws India's ire

By Kyle Johnson,

India is hopping mad over the treatment that their deputy consul-general in New York, Devyani Khobragade, received after she was arrested on Thursday.

According to The Associated Press, India's national security adviser went so far as to label the U.S.' treatment as "despicable and barbaric."

The treatment that has got India hot under the collar is that Khobragade was publicly arrested after taking her daughter to school. Once in custody, the diplomat was strip-searched and had to share a cell with drug addicts before being allowed to post a $250,000 bond.

National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon was most focused on Khobragade being strip-searched, than her being arrested on charges of visa fraud and on an application for her housekeeper, she allegedly made false statements.

The reason India is so outraged is that the country is deeply afraid of public humiliation at the hands of authorities, which is something the poor experience and would be near unthinkable for those in the middle-class. The other view is that the issue of Khobragade's housekeeper's wages should be something that the law has no involvement in.

The Indian Express reports that Indian officials are looking into ways to get back at the U.S. over the humiliating arrest. External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha went so far as to suggest that same sex companions of U.S. diplomats be punished, since India's Supreme Court has ruled on gay sex.

"It is completely illegal in our country, just as paying less wages was illegal in the US."

Party leader K C Tyagi noted, "A strong message should be sent to the US from India on this issue. If this is done to our diplomats, the officers from the US in the Indian embassy should also be strip searched."

The AP notes that Khobragade is pleading diplomatic immunity, but if found guilty she could spend up to 10 years in jail for visa fraud and an additional five years for false statements.


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