DEMANDS CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATION
Washington D.C.: US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC), a leading advocacy organization representing the over 3 million Indian Americans in the US, strongly condemns the arrest procedures undertaken by the U.S. Marshal Service and the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Officials in last week’s arrest of Devyani Khobragade, the Deputy Consul General of India, in New York City.
Ms. Khobragade, who is accused of making false statements in a visa application for a household staff and paying less than minimum wage, was led away in hand cuffs in front of her young daughter at the child’s school and then strip-searched, cavity-searched and swabbed for DNA at the police precinct like a common criminal.
USINPAC found comments by State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf particularly offensive given Ms. Harf is reported in press stories as having said that “standard procedures” were followed and that this is merely “an isolated episode.” USINPAC maintain that strip search, cavity search and DNA swabbing is not “standard procedure”. USINPAC unequivocally asserts that the dignity and respect due to any person and any diplomat is non-negotiable.
Chairman Sanjay Puri commented: “We are making inquiries and asking our Members of Congress to investigate the arrest procedures of Ms. Khobragade.” Mr. Puri responded to a deluge of USINPAC member questions today and concurred with their general sentiments that failure in diplomatic protocol can cause irreversible damage to US-India Relations, a country viewed by a majority of Americans as a critical ally in a troubled region. However, Mr. Puri urged diplomatic and political restraint both in India and in the US while a full investigation of the circumstances surrounding the arrest is underway.
The US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) is the voice of over 3.2 million Indian- Americans and works on issues that concern the community. It supports candidates for local, state and federal office and encourages political participation by the Indian- American community.