Devyani Khobragade Case

There has been an outpour of emotions and reactions in India since the day Devyani Khobragade, Indian Diplomat was arrested, detained and strip searched in New York. She was released on bail two hours post the arrest on a $250,000 bond after pleading not guilty and surrendering her passport.

The Incident:

Reports claim that after her arrest, Khobragade was handcuffed, strip searched, DNA swabbed and subjected to a cavity search. She was also made to share a cell with drug addicts.

Khobragade was charged by a special agent with the US Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security on December 11, 2013. The charges against her were those of committing visa fraud and providing false information in order to get entry for an Indian national woman employee as a domestic worker for herself in the United States.

On account of the following charges, she was arrested the next day by U.S. Department of State Police and the United States Marshal Service.

Khobragade was then posted as Deputy Consul General in Consulate General of India in New York.

Khobragade was charged for committing deliberate visa fraud and perjury under Title 28, United States Code, section 1746. There were also allegations suggesting that she submitted an employment contract to the U.S. Department of State, in support of a visa application filed by her for another individual i.e. Sangeeta Richard(her domestic help), which she knew enclosed forged information.

Khobragade signed a contract with Richard, which predetermined her hourly salary in the U.S. at $9.75 with 40 hours of work per week. This contract was submitted to the U.S. government as part of the visa application. The complaint then alleges that Khobragade asked Richard to sign another employment contract before leaving India, which was not revealed to the U.S. government. Under this second contract she was to be paid an expected salary of Rs. 30,000 per month way less than what was mentioned in the contract submitted forth the U.S. government.

Situation now:

The Indian government has for now moved Khobragade to a permanent Indian Mission at the United Nations, providing her with diplomatic immunity. On December 23, 2013, the United Nations approved a request from India to sanction Khobragade but also stated that US approval was still needed. Khobhragade has been granted an exemption from personally appearing in court for the case.

Though, The U.S. is going on with the trial of Khobragade and does not have any aim to withdraw the case of visa fraud against her.

Infact, U.S. sources have mentioned that more evidences are being collected against the 39-year-old diplomat before the filing of indictment by 13 January.


Previous harassment incidents:

Indians have previously too been subjected to humiliation in the name of law and security in other countries. In 2010 there was pandemonium when India's UN envoy, Hardeep Puri, was asked to remove his turban at a US airport and detained in a room when he repudiated. There was also a hands-on search of India's US ambassador, Meera Shankar, at an airport in Mississippi that year.

In 2009 Continental Airlines apologised to the former Indian president APJ Abdul Kalam for subjecting him to frisking at New York's JFK airport.

One of bollywood's prominent actors Shah Rukh Khan was detained and made to undergo a pat-down search while passing through an American airport.

Khan, who was detained earlier in 2009 also, was stopped at New York airport for over two hours by immigration officials after arriving from India in a private plane with Nita Ambani, to address students at Yale University.

Former defence minister George Fernandes was strip-searched twice at Washington's Dulles international airport in 2002 and 2003 .

Events like these have always caused immense hullabaloo in the country with the treatment meted out to these people making the nation feel snubbed on the whole.

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