Khobragade Will Be Brought Back With Dignity: Khurshid
By IANS | Published: 18th December 2013 09:15 PM |
Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade will return to India with dignity, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told the Rajya Sabha Wednesday, as members expressed outrage over her arrest and humiliation in the US.
"We will bring back the woman diplomat arrested in New York and restore her dignity. It is my responsibility," Khurshid said after a brief discussion on the issue.
"We strongly condemn the treatment meted out to the diplomat in New York. India is not over-reacting to the treatment to its diplomat by US. The nation must speak in one voice," he said.
The 39-year-old Khobragade was strip-searched, cavity-searched and swabbed for DNA after her arrest in New York on charges of visa fraud. She was confined with criminals before being released on a $250,000 bail.
Khurshid later told the Lok Sabha that "the Indian official was innocent and there was a conspiracy against her".
He said India had summoned US ambassador Nancy Powell and decided to withdraw consular identity cards in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata.
He said the protocol department had decided that no passage counsular staff would be made available to US diplomats.
The issue was raised by opposition leader Arun Jaitley, who called for a review of India's foreign policy.
Commerce Minister Anand Sharma described the incident as a "national outrage" and said the government has taken a stern view of it.
Jaitley said it was time India insisted on being treated like equals.
"If we conduct foreign policy in a manner that we're taken for granted, then these incidents will be repeated. We need to introspect where we stand on foreign policy," he said.
The retaliatory measures India has taken need to be continued, Jaitley said.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said the government should take up the case seriously as the diplomat was a Dalit. She accused New Delhi of waking up late.
Communist Party of India-Marxist's Sitaram Yechury said: "There have been cabinet members in the NDA and UPA governments who have been subjected to such (treatment). This cannot be accepted by any sovereign nation. The attitude needs to change."
Trinamool Congress member Derek O'Brien criticised the US.
"We live in a global village but we don't need a self-appointed global village headman. It is time now to codify all privileges India provides to US diplomats and the privileges our diplomats receive in the US."
DMK's Kanimozhi said that time and again Indian leaders have been ill-treated in the US.
On his part, Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav said India seemed to suffer from an inferiority complex, which he felt was "very sad".