India’s Deputy Consul General in New York Dr Devyani Khobragade was strip searched in custody and made to stand with common criminals, drug addicts and sex workers by the New York Police, reports India Today.
The 39-year-old diplomat, a 1999-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, was on her way to drop her two children to school when she was stopped by police and handcuffed in full public view.
Shocked, Dr Khobragade protested immediately saying she was a diplomat and enjoyed immunity.
But there was worse in store. She was handcuffed, taken to a police station where she was stripped and searched.
“This is in grave violation of the Vienna Convention. United States authorities knew she was a diplomat and yet they deliberately humiliated her. The US is well aware of the legal status of the case with the domestic help which was being pursued in a court of law in India. In fact, India had sought US’ help in the case. Yet, the deliberate insult,” a source said.
This is the second time the New York Police has done so to Indian diplomats.
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, who is a former IFS officer, on Monday refused to meet a bipartisan US Congressional delegation.
“The speaker was extremely angry not because Dr Khobragade is a Dalit, but because the US did this to a woman diplomat, a mother of two. She is impressed by the manner in which Dr Khobragade handled herself with dignity. But as a former diplomat and a woman, Meira Kumar wanted to send a message,” a source in Parliament said.
Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, who has just returned from the US, had summoned US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell and protested the treatment meted out to Dr Khobragade.
The government says the matter is being taken up with the US and ill-treatment of a woman diplomat by the US is “unacceptable”.
“The American violence against Dr Khobragade is nothing short of barbaric. It is shocking that details should come out on a day when the nation is still recovering from the shock of the incident of violence against Nirbhaya (the Delhi gang-rape victim). Is there any difference between the criminals who acted against Nirbhaya and the New York authorities who have scarred the children of an able diplomat so horribly,” Rajiv Dogra, India’s former ambassador to Italy, said.