Updated: January 9, 2014 5:00:30 pm
Political parties expressed outrage over the “shameful and barbaric” treatment meted out to Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York and asked the government to take every step matching US action till it gives an unconditional apology.
“The incidents should be condemned by all. More steps should be taken till the US gives an unconditional apology,” Union Minister and Congress leader Kamal Nath said as India announced a slew of measures curtailing privileges of US diplomats here.
“India should take the lead in sending a message to the US authorities,” he said.
Main opposition BJP asked the government to take up the matter strongly with the American establishment and even demanded arrest of American gay partners in India.
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“The way she was arrested after being handcuffed,kept with drug addicts and strip-searched in the police station,that is condemnable,reprehensible and regrettable and in clear violation of conventions,” BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Taking a dig at the UPA government,he said that the treatment given to the Indian diplomat by the US “does not accord to the level of friendship that the Indian government claims to have with the US”.
“We would urge the Indian government,which tries to match each and every step of the US,to take serious action in this matter to establish the Indian sovereignty and prestige of its diplomatic community,” he said.
Reacting sharply to the arrest of the diplomat,former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha said the government should hit back by punishing same sex companions of US diplomats in India following the Supreme Court ruling on gay sex.
“Media has reported that we have issued visas to a number of US diplomats’ companions. ‘Companions’ means that they are of the same sex. Now,after the Supreme Court ruling,it is completely illegal in our country,just as paying less wages was illegal in the US,” the senior BJP leader said referring to visas issued to same sex ‘companions’ of US diplomats living in India.
JD (U) urged the Government to adopt a tit for tat policy towards US diplomats in the country.
Urging the Government to adopt a similar policy towards US diplomats in India,JD(U)leader K C Tyagi said that he would give a notice tomorrow to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari to take up the issue in the Upper House as the matter was a “very serious” one.
“A strong message should be sent to the US from India on this issue. If this is done to our diplomats,the officers from the US in the Indian embassy should also be strip searched,” he said.
JD(U) also criticised External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid for meeting a US Congressional delegation though Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi,Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar refused to meet them in protest against the behaviour meted out to the diplomat.
BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi too refused to meet the US lawmakers.
CPI National Secretary D Raja said the US makes “tall claims about human rights and freedom but with this incident,all these claims have fallen flat.”
“The way they have behaved with the woman diplomat has thoroughly unmasked the duplicity of US claims about human rights and dignity. This has to be vehemently condemned. The US administration could have taken up the issue with our Mission there,if at all anything was wrong,” he said.
“Government has taken up the matter seriously,but why is the US not responding? That shows their arrogance towards other countries,” Raja asked.
Deputy Counsel General 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.
The row today intensified following reports that the diplomat was strip searched,confined with drug addicts and also subjected to DNA swabbing. However,when State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf was queried on it she said that the Diplomatic Security “followed standard procedures during her arrest”.
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