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Detained Diplomat Complains About Treatment in US Custody


An Indian diplomat arrested in the United States last week said she faced repeated handcuffing and cavity searches while being held on visa fraud charges in New York City, fueling a diplomatic dispute between the U.S. and India.

In an email published in Indian media Wednesday, Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade, said she broke down in tears multiple times while undergoing cavity searches and other indignities. She said she was also held in a space with common criminals and drug addicts despite her repeated assertions that she had diplomatic immunity.

India has reacted with outrage to Khobragade's arrest. Supporters of a small opposition party staged an anti-U.S. protest in New Delhi on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Indian authorities asked U.S. consular officers to return their identity cards, rescinded airport passes and removed concrete security barriers from in front of the U.S. embassy in New Delhi.

The U.S. State Department has told India it does not want the incident to affect diplomatic ties between the two nations.

Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in an undated picture from her Twitter account.
Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in an undated picture from her Twitter account.
Khobragade, 39, is accused of making false statements in support of the visa application of an Indian national she brought to the United States to serve as household staff. She also is accused of paying the woman less than the minimum wage.

Khobragade, who said she is innocent, has been released on $250,000 bail.

In a diplomatic rebuff, Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde cancelled his meeting with a five-member delegation of U.S. congress members visiting New Delhi. Ruling Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi and opposition leader Narendra Modi also cancelled meetings with the group.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Tuesday the U.S. and India enjoy "a broad and deep friendship," and called the issue "an isolated episode."

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.
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