Written by Staff Writer
18 Dec, 2013 | 5:06 pm
The arrest and detention of an Indian consular official in New York on visa fraud charges has created a diplomatic uproar with punitive steps taken against State Department officials in New Delhi.
India’s deputy consul general, was arrested on Thursday as she dropped her daughter off at school. Court papers allege she submitted false documents to obtain a work visa for her female housekeeper, paying her less than the amount stated.
Khobragade, 39, was held in a cell with other females and strip-searched in New York following her arrest, the U.S. Marshals Service said, noting such treatment was standard procedure in her case and that no policies were violated. She eventually posted bond and was released.
The case has set off outrage in India about Khobragade’s treatment by U.S. law enforcement officials, but it has also drawn concern from human rights advocates about her alleged underpaying of her housekeeper.
The Indian government has described the diplomat’s treatment by the U.S. justice system as barbaric.
“We are shocked and appalled at the manner in which she has been humiliated by the US authorities,” Indian external affairs spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said last week. He called the treatment of Khobragade “absolutely unacceptable.”
Indian officials have summoned U.S. Ambassador Nancy Powell, stripped American diplomats of identification cards that give them diplomatic benefits, and removed security barriers outside the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.
Meanwhile, India announced retaliatory measures against the United States on Wednesday, including revising work conditions of Indians employed in U.S. consulates and a freeze on duty-free alcohol, in an escalating row over the arrest of a diplomat in New York.
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