RPI activists vandalise Dominos outlet in Mumbai

Mumbai, Dec.20 : Republican Party of India (RPI) activists on Friday vandalised a Dominos Pizza outlet here over a demand to ban sale of American goods until Washington apologises for the arrest and ill-treatment of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York last Thursday.

Mumbai Police said no one was hurt in the attack, which came as diplomats from the two countries sought to defuse the row over the arrest and subsequent strip-search of Khobragade in an alleged visa fraud case.

The arrest has enraged India, which demanded that charges be dropped against Khobragade and that the U.S. Government apologise for her ill-treatment. New Delhi has also demanded the arrest of the housekeeper, Sangeetha Richards, also an Indian national, who had accused Khobragade of fraud and underpayment of wages.

The Republican Party of India sent pictures to media organisations showing a broken glass door at the Dominos Pizza outlet. The party said it wanted the United States to drop charges against Khobragade.

No spokesman from Dominos Pizza was immediately available to comment on the incident.

Before the diplomatic blow-up on Saturday, relations between the two countries had been seen as cordial and improving.

While the U.S. State Department attempted to tamp down the furore in India, U.S. prosecutors showed no signs they would drop their case against Khobragade.
In a strongly worded statement on Wednesday, Preet Bharara, the main prosecutor in the case, defended the investigation and treatment of Khobragade.

His statement came just hours after Secretary of State John Kerry called India's National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon to express regret about Khobragade's treatment.

On Thursday, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman spoke with Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh to again stress the importance of the U.S.-Indian ties and to pledge to work through the complex issues of the case.

Khobragade was arrested last week and released on USD 250,000 bail after giving up her passport and pleading not guilty to charges of visa fraud and making false statements about how much she paid her maid. She faces a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted of both counts.

The U.S. Justice Department confirmed that Khobragade was strip-searched after her arrest. A senior Indian Government source has said the interrogation also included a cavity search, although U.S. officials have denied this.

--ANI (Posted on 21-12-2013)

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