When Saudi Arabian Ambassador Saud Mohammed Al Sati was called in by the Ministry of External Affairs’s chief of protocol Jaideep Majumdar last week, he was told clearly that the charges against Saudi diplomat Majed Hassan Ashoor were “serious” in nature and “cannot be brushed under the carpet”, government sources told The Indian Express on Thursday. The Saudi envoy was told to get Ashoor to submit to questioning by the Gurgaon Police.
This was New Delhi’s tough-talk to Saudi counterparts, who denied the allegations against Ashoor since September 7, when the Gurgaon Police rescued two women from Nepal from his residence after months of being allegedly raped and tortured.
Sources said Majumdar conveyed the message in a clear manner after the ministry received the police report. The police had sent a medical report, which confirmed rape of the two women.
“While the Saudi government initially refused, they later realised that the Indian side was serious about it,” a source said.
The Saudi government, however, invoked diplomatic immunity for the accused diplomat, and refused to submit him to questioning by the Indian authorities.
This led the Saudis to exercise the only option of “recalling” their diplomat from the country, or else India would have had to expel and declare him “persona non grata”, as per Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961).
In New Delhi, a day after the Saudi diplomat left the country, Nepal’s envoy Deep Kumar Upadhaya indicated that his country will pursue the case. “It is our duty to ensure justice to the victims. It is a very, very inhuman issue. Nepal has very friendly relations with Saudi Arabia as well as India…If there has been crime, the criminals should be punished and victims must get justice,” he said.