Updated: January 9, 2014 5:00:19 pm
The father of India’s Deputy Consul General in New York Devyani Khobragade met Union Ministers on Tuesday to complain about the arrest and strip search of his daughter by US authorities which he termed as violation of human rights and Vienna Convention.
Uttam Khobragade,father of 39-year-old Devyani,met Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and demanded that the issue be resolved through “political and diplomatic” initiatives.
“It is not Devyani’s insult,but of the nation as she is representing the country. Devyani has been made a target,a scapegoat…. It is the outcome of tussle going on between the Ministry of External Affairs and US State department for the last two years,” he claimed.
He was speaking to media after meeting External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.
The Indian diplomat was arrested and handcuffed in public on visa fraud charges last week. Khobragade,a 1999-batch IFS officer,was taken into custody on a street in New York as she was dropping her daughter to school,before being released on a USD 250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.
Khobragade said Shinde assured him that government will take necessary steps to ensure that she gets justice.
“They are aware of the development and fully convinced that my daughter is being unnecessarily harassed and humiliated. This is a clear case of human rights violation and violation of Vienna Convention. I have been assured that the government is working in every manner to ensure that no harm is done to my daughter,” he said.
India today retaliated strongly by initiating series of steps to strip US diplomats and their families of privileges including withdrawing all airport passes and stopping import clearances for the embassy.
Alleging that Sangeeta Richard,the nanny hired by Devyani,has committed fraud,Khobragade said FIR against his daughter was registered “under a conspiracy” while the real culprit was the nanny. He said a case is pending against Richard in Indian court.
“The FIR is contradictory. If you go by the body of the FIR,it should be registered against Sangeeta Richard,but they registered FIR against Devyani. The fraud was committed by Sangeeta Richard,whom US government is protecting,” said Khobragade.
“In an earlier case,they could extract the money,but as our side is clear we are not going to come under any pressure. When they cannot do anything legally,they did it illegally by filing a false and fabricated case. It is a political case,” Khobragade alleged.
Khobragade said the present case would not deter Devyani from completing her term in the US.
“Devyani is a brave girl. Devyani worked in Pakistan for three years when situation was the worst there. She will complete her term there. We have no objection. We are demanding that the US should apologise to her and drop false charges against her,” he said.
After his meeting with Khobragade,Shinde said “He told me everything about the incident. Immediately,I have spoken to the concerned people for action. She will get justice.”
“What was done was absolutely atrocious and she was discharging government duty,” Khobragade said,adding when Devyani was arrested,she should have been treated with proper dignity.
According to Khobragade,the Home Minister said that Devyani had diplomatic immunity and the government will ensure that no harm is done and she is safe. Also there is no restriction on her movement.
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar,Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde,Congress leader Rahul Gandhi,Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon have refused to meet a US Congressional delegation in protest against the arrest and subsequent treatment meted out to Devyani.
India has also asked the US to return IDs issued to all its consular officers posted in the country.
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