india-news

India talks tough, seeks unconditional apology from US (lead)

New Delhi, Dec 17 : India Tuesday sought "unconditional apology" from the US over the arrest and the purported strip search of its ranking diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York and also took a slew of steps to pare down the privileges of American diplomats in an apparent retaliatory measure.


Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said the US should tender "unconditional apology" to India over the public humiliation of its diplomat, and that "more steps need to be taken to awaken the US that it's a changed world."

The union minister's tough message came after India asked US diplomats in consulates across the country to surrender their Diplomatic Identity Cards issued to them and their families by the Indian government.

India has also withdrawn all airport passes for consulates and import clearances for the embassy. This helped them to import liquor without paying airport fees.

Knowledgeable sources said Delhi Police have also been asked to remove security barricades outside the US embassy. The barricades for years restricted public movement around the embassy and normal vehicular traffic was particularly barred from the slip road in front of the embassy and the visa office at the back of the chancery.

India is also seeking details like salaries paid to Indian staff employed in the US consulates, including those working as domestic helps with the families of American officials because there is suspicion that Indian staff at the US embassy were discriminated against.

Khobragade was charged last week with visa fraud and making false statements.

She was accused by Manhattan's Indian American US Attorney Preet Bharara of visa fraud and exploiting her babysitter and housekeeper. She was handcuffed in public by law enforcement authorities in New York Thursday while she was dropping her daughter at school.

Khobragade was strip searched, confined to a cell with drug addicts and also subjected to DNA swabbing, sources confirmed to IANS

--IANS (Posted on 17-12-2013)

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