Strip searches, cavity searches, DNA swabbing not ‘standard procedure’.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: The US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) issued a strong denouncement of the arrest of Indian Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade, which occurred last week, and decried her strip-search by US law enforcement agents as “particularly offensive.”
The USINPAC has called out U.S. Marshal Service and the State Department’s Diplomatic Security officials specifically, as well as State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, who commented that the strip-search of Khobragade was just “an isolated episode.”
In a press release put out by the organization, which represents the nearly 3 million persons of Indian origin currently residing in the US, the USINPAC said that “strip search, cavity search, and DNA swabbing [are] not ‘standard procedure,’” and that any person, diplomat or otherwise, deserves to be treated with “dignity and respect.”
USINPAC Chairman Sanjay Puri announced in the same press release that he was calling on members of Congress to investigate the circumstances of Khobragade’s arrest and subsequent treatment thereafter, saying that diplomatic protocols should have been followed.
Puri also commented on the effect Khobragade’s arrest could have on US-India relations, saying that he “concurred with [the] general sentiments that failure in diplomatic protocol can cause irreversible damage to US-India Relations” and that India is “a country viewed by a majority of Americans as a critical ally in a troubled region.”
Khobragade was arrested last week, as she was dropping her child off at school, for allegedly making false statements on a visa application the salary to be given to a maid she sponsored to the US from India, and for paying her less than minimum wage as mandated law.
Khobragade is currently out on $250,000 bail.