Agencies, New Delhi
In a tit for tat, India today withdrew several privileges to US consular staff posted in the country and sought various information regarding their families and the Indian staff employed by them to register its strong protest against the treatment meted out to its diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York.
According to sources, the consular staff has been asked to return their Identity cards, and has also been deprived of the facility of airport access pass given to them.
Besides, the police security provided to the US Embassy in New Delhi here has been scaled down with all Delhi Police barricades being removed, allowing only police pickets to remain there. These actions follow US argument against Khobragade’s arrest that the consular staff did not possess the same immunity as the embassy staff. Khobragade was arrested handcuffed and strip-searched in a case of alleged visa fraud, an incident which has evoked strong reaction from top Indian leadership.
A US Congress delegation which was yesterday snubbed by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, was today refused meeting also by Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi in addition to BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, to protest against the humiliation of the Indian diplomat.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurhsid today described the incident as ‘’unacceptable’’and said that every possible thing was being done to covey to the US in strongest possible terms, the country’s displeasure over the incident and to resolve the matter.
‘’Whatever needs to be done was being done. We have put into motion what we believe to be effective way of resolving the matter,’’ he said, while replying to a question at a joint press conference he addressed with visiting Arab League General Secretary Dr Nabil Elaraby.