Rahul Gandhi, Shinde Decline to Meet US Delegation - The New Indian Express

Rahul Gandhi, Shinde Decline to Meet US Delegation

Published: 17th December 2013 12:10 PM

Last Updated: 17th December 2013 02:17 PM

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde Tuesday declined to meet a US Congressional delegation to highlight India's strong disapproval of the arrest and handcuffing of an Indian diplomat in New York last week.

The diplomatic snub comes a day after Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon cancelled their meetings separately with the visiting US delegation.

The NSA is known to have described the treatment meted out to Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general in New York, as "despicable" and "barbaric", a source told IANS.

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

Speaker Meira Kumar, herself a former Indian diplomat, declined to meet the US delegation, comprising Republican and Democrat members, "as a sign of displeasure" over the treatment meted out Khobragade.

Khobragade, one of India's senior diplomats in New York, 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.

India has termed the treatment meted out to the envoy as "absolutely unacceptable". US Ambassador Nancy Powell was summoned to South Block by Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh December 13 and a strong protest lodged over the treatment.

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