NSA, Lok Sabha Speaker cancel meet with US delegation to protest arrest of Indian diplomat

NSA, Lok Sabha Speaker cancel meet with US delegation to protest arrest of Indian diplomat

India's Deputy Consul general in New York Devyani Khobragade: File pic

New Delhi: In a major snub, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar cancelled her meeting with a senior US Congressional delegation in New Delhi today as a mark of protest against the treatment meted out to India's Deputy Consul General in New York.

Meira Kumar, herself an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer who quit the service before joining politics, cancelled the meeting as she felt it was not "appropriate" to meet the Parliamentarians of the US, which has badly treated one of India's senior diplomats, according to sources.

Significantly, National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, who also had a scheduled meeting with the five-member US team, did not meet them, apparently for the same reason.

The delegations comprised of Congressmen George Holding (Republican - North Carolina), Pete Olson (Republican - Texas) David Schweikert (Republican - Arizona), Robert Woodall (Republican - Arizona), Madeleine Bordallo (Democrat - Guam).

Today's snub came after India reacted sharply to Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade being arrested and handcuffed in public on visa fraud charges last week by summoning US Ambassador Nancy Powell and issuing a demarche in this regard.

In Washington the matter was taken up with the US government "forcefully" through the Indian mission.

39-year-old Ms Khobragade, a 1999-batch IFS officer, was taken into custody last week on a street in New York as she was dropping her daughter to school and handcuffed in public on visa fraud charges before being released on a USD 250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.

"We are shocked and appalled at the manner in which she has been humiliated by the US authorities. We have taken it up forcefully with the US government through our embassy in Washington.

"We are also reiterating, in no uncertain terms, to US embassy here that this kind of treatment to one of our diplomats is absolutely unacceptable," Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Syed Akabaruddin had said here while reacting to the treatment meted out to Ms Khobragade.
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