India demands apology in Devyani row, US says no

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • |
  • Updated: Dec 20, 2013 19:52 IST
  • Diplomat protest

    A group supporting domestic workers' rights demonstrates across the street from the Indian Consulate General in New York. (AFP)

  • Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad

    Activists of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, linked to the BJP, burn an effigy depicting US President Barack Obama during a protest in Bhubaneswar. (Reuters)

  • Devyani Khobragade

    People protest against the arrest of Devyani Khobragade, an Indian consular officer in New York, outside the US consulate in Hyderabad.

  • Devyani Khobragade

    A file photo of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York. (Reuters)

  • Dana Sussman

    Dana Sussman, the lawyer for the housekeeper at the center of a diplomatic furor between the US and India, speaks to reporters in New York. ...

  • Uttam Khobragade

    Uttam Khobragade, the father of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, gestures as he addresses the media in Mumbai. (AFP)

  • Devyani Khobragade sketch

    A sketch of India's deputy consul general in New York, Devyani Khobragade, in Manhattan Federal court.  (Reuters)

  • Kolkata protest

    Students participate in a march to American consulate in Kolkata to protest against the alleged ill-treatment of India's deputy consul general in New York, Devyani ...

  • Devyani Khobragade

    Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade is seen at an AIA event recently in New York. (PTI file photo)

  • Rashtrawadi Shiv Sena

    Supporters of Rashtrawadi Shiv Sena, a Hindu hardline group, shout anti-US slogans during a protest near the US embassy in New Delhi. (Reuters)

The US on Friday rejected India's demands of dropping visa fraud charges against senior diplomat Devyani Khobragade and apologising for mistreating her, saying the allegations were "very serious" and she would not be allowed to go scot-free.

State department spokesperson Marie Harf also made it clear that the immunity sought for 39-year-old Khobragade after her transfer to India's Permanent Mission to the UN is "not retroactive".

India had earlier on Friday demanded a categorical apology from the US in the Khobragade case, saying the country will not accept such behaviour in any circumstances.

Read: Sangeeta Richard, real victim in Indian diplomat controversy, says lawyer

Read: India demands US apology, wants case against Devyani Khobragade dropped

Police detain a student during their protest march to American Consulate against the alleged ill-treatment meted out to India's deputy consul general Devyani Khobragade in the US. (PTI photo)

"No formalities will be acceptable to us. They (US) should tender a clear apology. We will not accept this conduct against India under any circumstances. US has to understand that the world has changed, times have changed and India has changed," parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath said.

The minister said the government has always maintained that the US has to apologise in the Devyani issue.

In Delhi, external affairs minister Salman Khurshid said, "We will find a solution to the issue. As we deal with each other, we have to keep entire gamut of our bilateral relationship in mind,” Khurshid said, adding that it was important to preserve the relationship between India and the US.

The two sides had on Thursday discussed specific steps to resolve the situation during a telephone call made by US undersecretary of state for political affairs Wendy Sherman to foreign secretary Sujatha Singh to follow up on the conversation secretary of state John Kerry had with National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon on Wednesday. 

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2013/12/20_12_13-metro12b.gif

Read: US media ignored issue till Kerry call

Read: US ignored requests by India to resolve Khobragade maid issue

US President Barack Obama was also briefed after which the White House described the arrest as an "isolated incident" and hoped that the matter would not derail bilateral ties.

"We take these allegations very seriously. We're not in any way walking back from those allegations or the charges. Again, this is really a law enforcement issue," Harf said in response to a volley of questions on the issue.

Read: BJP won't recall invitation to US envoy for Modi's rally

The spokesperson replied in the negative on being asked whether the deputy consul general in New York, arrested on December 12, would be allowed to go "scot-free".

"I don't know the details of the complaint, and I don't know if even withdrawing the complaint, which I'm not saying anybody is considering would, in fact, drop the charge. That's not something that's even being considered," Harf said.

Read: PM upset; directs full resolution of issue

"We certainly take these types of allegations very seriously though. It's not a decision for us whether to prosecute or not," Harf said.

Contradicting external affairs minister Salman Khurshid's remark on Thursday that the two sides were trying to lock a time for a conversation between him and Kerry, Harf said nothing was scheduled as of now.

"No plans (for Kerry) to (call Khurshid)," she said.

"I mean, he (Kerry) is always open to, but I think there was some misreporting out there today that he maybe (or) was planning to, and that's just not the case," she said.

Khurshid had said, "I was not available when John Kerry called. We are trying to lock a time for a call this evening or may be tomorrow. Kerry is in the Philippines and there is a huge time difference."         

Kerry is on a year-end family vacation and would return to Washington after holidays, she said.

Read: Indian protesters attack Domino's outlet over diplomat row

Read: Devyani’s sister says nanny was treated like family

Read: US attorney Preet Bharara says Devyani treated very well

 


 

 

also read

With outside support in RS, NDA to get ahead of Opposition in 2016

blog comments powered by Disqus