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News » International

US rushes to calm India's anger over diplomat's arrest

Deputy counsel Khobragade strip searched over alleged visa fraud

US rushes to calm India's anger over diplomat's arrest

Picture: BBC News/Reuters

BBC News International

December 19, 2013

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US Secretary of State John Kerry has called a top Indian official to express his regret over the treatment of an Indian diplomat arrested in New York on suspicion of visa fraud.

Deputy consul general Devyani Khobragade was handcuffed and strip-searched last week.

Mr Kerry spoke to India's national security adviser, who had described the treatment as "despicable and barbaric".

He said the "unfortunate" incident should not damage US-Indian relations.

Ms Khobragade has denied allegations of visa fraud and making false statements, after she was accused of underpaying her Indian maid.

The maid had complained the diplomat was paying her less than the minimum wage stipulated under US visa requirements.

On Wednesday, Mr Kerry called Indian National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon in an effort to ensure the incident would not hurt the two nations' close relationship.

State department spokeswoman Marie Harf said it was "particularly important to Secretary Kerry that foreign diplomats serving in the United States are accorded respect and dignity just as we expect our own diplomats should receive overseas".

Ms Khobragade appeared in a Manhattan court last Friday and was freed on bail.

Meanwhile prosecutor Preet Bharara said in a statement that she "was accorded courtesies well beyond what other defendants, most of whom are American citizens, are accorded".

"It is true that she was fully searched by a female Deputy Marshal - in a private setting - when she was brought into the US Marshals' custody, but this is standard practice for every defendant, rich or poor, American or not," he said.

"One wonders why there is so much outrage about the alleged treatment of the Indian national accused of perpetrating these acts, but precious little outrage about the alleged treatment of the Indian victim and her spouse?"

Full Story: Kerry 'regrets' India diplomat Devyani Khobragade row

Source: BBC News

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