Devyani Khobragade incident 'deplorable', says PM; Parliament condemns US action

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Devyani Khobragade incident 'deplorable', says PM; Parliament condemns US action
New Delhi:  The arrest and humiliation of high-ranking Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in the US, which has triggered a massive diplomatic row, was today condemned in Parliament by parties across the political spectrum.

"The treatment meted out to Indian Deputy Consul General by the US is deplorable," PM Manmohan Singh said today.

Amid calls by some parties for a more aggressive reaction by India, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said the government will make a statement on the case tomorrow. Yesterday, an outraged government took a series of measures to downgrade the special privileges given to American diplomats in India.

Calling the incident a "conspiracy" in which the young diplomat was "virtually trapped into," Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said, "We will bring back the woman diplomat arrested in New York and restore her dignity. It is my responsibility."

In Rajya Sabha, the BJP's Arun Jaitley called Ms Khobragade's treatment a clear violation of the Vienna Convention by the US government. "The government should apologise. The House wants to know what steps are being taken," he said.

"We live in a global village but we don't need a village headman. America must stop pretending to be head of world," said Trinamool Congress member Derek'O'Brien.

"The incident cannot be accepted by any self-respecting sovereign nation," Sitaram Yechury of the CPM said. He accused the government of not protesting enough when reports of the US snooping over Indian leaders emerged recently.

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati was heckled by many members in Rajya Sabha for suggesting that the government had not reacted sooner in Ms Khobragade's case because of her caste. "Dalits across the country are especially angry," she said.

The US has accused Ms Khobragade of lying on the visa application for an Indian national who worked at her home, paying her less than minimum wages and forcing her to work for more than 40 hours a week.

The US has launched damage control after India's retaliation against the humiliating arrest and strip search of Ms Khobragade in New York.

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