If you’re going to conduct a body cavity search, you should at least buy her dinner first:
An Indian diplomat 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, 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.
Khobragade’s father, Ttam Khobragade, was outraged, saying Tuesday that his daughter had “not done anything to be treated like that. What was done was absolutely atrocious.”
The case has sparked widespread outrage in India and infuriated the New Delhi government, which revoked privileges for U.S. diplomats to protest the woman’s 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.
On Wednesday, dozens of people protested outside the U.S. Embassy, saying Khobragade’s treatment was an insult to all Indian women.
In an email published in India media on Wednesday, Khobragade said she was treated like a common criminal.
“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.
An Indian official with direct knowledge of the case confirmed to The Associated Press that the email was authentic. The official, who spoke anonymously because of the sensitivity of the case, said India’s priority now is to get the woman returned home.
“India’s top demand right now is: Return our diplomat,” he said, adding that Khobragade, who was released on $250,000 bail, would have to report to police in New York every week.
Khobragade’s case has touched a nerve in India, where the fear of public humiliation resonates strongly and heavy-handed treatment by the police is normally reserved for the poor. For an educated, middle-class woman to face public arrest and a strip search is almost unimaginable, except in the most brutal crimes.
Prosecutors say Khobragade claimed on visa application documents she paid her Indian maid $4,500 per month, but that she actually paid her less than $3 per hour. Khobragade has pleaded not guilty and plans to challenge the arrest on grounds of diplomatic immunity.
Brennan reported that a major sticking point between the U.S. and India is whether Khobragade — a junior diplomat — should even be considered immune to prosecution.
Marie Harf, U.S. State Department deputy spokeswoman, said Khobragade does not have full diplomatic immunity. Instead, she has consular immunity from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts only with respect to acts performed in the exercise of consular functions.
You know what the media would have made of this had it happened under Bush. Dear God, the misogyny, insensitivity, the cruelty!
Interesting how our relationship with India has “cooled” since Obama took office. I guess they don’t see the aura:
That’s no way to treat a person of color.