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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Jul 2014

US makes it clear viral Devyani Khobragade's strip search video is fake

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Washington, January 04, 2014
First Published: 10:40 IST(4/1/2014) | Last Updated: 01:32 IST(5/1/2014)

The US on Friday denied assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal had cancelled her first visit to India because of the ongoing Khobragade impasse.

The state department also said a video apparently showing Khobragade being strip-searched was a hoax, and called it a "dangerous and provocative fabrication".

Media reports in India had said Biswal had cancelled her visit, which, they had claimed, was to start on January 6. State department spokesperson Marie Harf called those reports "rumours" and said, "It’s my understanding there was nothing locked in stone on the calendar."

But a visit to India is high on Indian-born Biswal’s wish list. "When it works in her schedule, she’s very much looking forward to travelling there to the region and talking to folks on the ground," Harf said.

About the video that popped up suddenly on Friday and went viral on TV and the web, the spokesperson said, "This hoax video, which I think has appeared on some news websites without, obviously, confirming its authenticity because it’s not, we find it deeply troubling, irresponsible, and reckless, and condemn again this dangerous fabrication."

Read: US knew Devyani had diplomatic immunity; yet arrested, strip-searched her, says India

Read: US agrees with PM's remarks; says working to get ties on track

Read: US 'still reviewing' Devyani Khobragade's UN application

HT Blog: Its open season for all on Devyani

The woman in the video is not Khobragade. And Harf said the officials — or people who looked like officials — were not from the US Marshals Service. "We spoke with the Marshals about this issue and they did confirm — and they can speak more for themselves — that the footage in question does not depict US Marshal employees.’

And the kind of search shown in the video was not in keeping with US Marshals’ policy. "This is not how we do things here," she added.


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