Row over Devyani Khobragade's arrest: Rahul Gandhi, Sushil Kumar Shinde snub US delegation

Row over Devyani Khobragade's arrest: Rahul Gandhi, Sushil Kumar Shinde snub US delegation

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi declined to meet a US delegation. (PTI photo)

New Delhi Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on 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 Shiv Shankar Menon cancelled their meetings separately with the visiting US delegation.

Mr Menon has described the treatment meted out to Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general in New York, as "despicable" and "barbaric", a source told IANS.

Ms 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 to Ms Khobragade.

Ms 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 on Thursday while she was dropping her daughter to 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 on December 13 and a strong protest lodged over the treatment.

Story First Published: December 17, 2013 13:10 IST

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