New Delhi: In what are being called first reciprocal steps, India has signalled its displeasure at the arrest and "barbaric treatment" treatment of its diplomat in New York, Devyani Khobragade, with a slew of tough measures like asking US diplomats and their families in consulates all over the country to surrender their identity cards and withdrawing airport passes for them.
Here are the latest updates on this story:
- India has also sought salary details of all Indian staff employed in US consulates, including those working as domestic help at the homes of US diplomats in India. It has asked for visa and salary details of teachers at US schools here to determine if they are paying tax or not.
- The police have been asked to lift barricades outside the US embassy in Delhi. India is also stopping all import clearances for the embassy. (Devyani Khobragade's arrest: angry India takes reciprocal steps)
- India is livid that Ms Khobragade, 39, was subjected to a humiliating strip search and was kept in a cell with drug addicts after her arrest last Thursday. She has refused to comment on this.
- External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said earlier today, "it is completely unacceptable... We have put in motion what we believe will be an effective way to address this issue and protect her dignity... Everything that can be done, will be done"
- This morning, Congress Vice president Rahul Gandhi and Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde refused to meet a visiting US Congressional delegation. The BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he too has refused to meet the delegation "in solidarity with our nation." Sources said senior officials in the foreign ministry had urged Mr Khurshid to cancel his meeting yesterday with the US team too, but the minister chose to meet them and convey India's displeasure.
- The BJP's Yashwant Sinha said this was not enough action. He said, "The media has reported that we have issued visas to a number of US diplomats' companions. Companions means that they are of the same sex. Now, after the Supreme Court ruling (on gay sex verdict), it is completely illegal in our country. Just as paying fewer wage was illegal in the US. So, why doesn't the Government of India go ahead and arrest all of them! Put them behind bars, prosecute them in this country and punish them?"
- Yesterday, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon cancelled meetings in Delhi with the delegation. Mr Menon has described Ms Khobragade's treatment as "despicable and barbaric."
- Ms Khobragade, 39, was arrested on Thursday on the street while she was dropping her daughter to school and was handcuffed in public. She was later released on a $250,000 bail. She has been accused of lying on the visa application for an Indian national who worked at her home from November 2012 to June 2013 for less than four dollars an hour.
(Indian diplomat arrested in US for alleged visa fraud, handcuffed in public)
- A day later, Foreign secretary Sujatha Singh summoned American ambassador in New Delhi, Nancy Powell, and lodged a strong protest over what India has described as "unacceptable treatment" meted out to its senior consular officer. (India summons US ambassador to protest diplomat being handcuffed)
- Noel Clay, a spokesperson for the US State Department, told NDTV that standard procedures had been followed during Ms Khobragade's arrest. Mr Clay also said, "Under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the Indian Deputy Consul General enjoys immunity from the jurisdiction of US courts only with respect to acts performed in the exercise of consular functions." India has argued that the US has violated the Vienna Convention.