Even as India sharpened its reaction to the humiliation of its diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York recently (she was handcuffed outside her daughter’s school and strip-searched later), security arrangements at the US embassy in New Delhi were strengthened after removal of the barricades outside it on Tuesday.
This was done to check any contingency that could arise as a result of the free flow of traffic following the removal of the barricades, a senior Delhi Police officer said.
"We have only removed the barricades around the embassy as per instructions from the ministry of external affairs. But that does not mean we will tone down security for US citizens or diplomats too,” the officer said.
Security outside the US consulates in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad remained unchanged but privileges of consulate officials in Mumbai and Kolkata were downgraded on Wednesday.
A senior Maharashtra protocol department official said all staffers at the US consulate in Mumbai and other American establishments in the city have been asked to submit their ID cards for verification. Moreover, details have been sought about the masons, domestic helps and private security guards at the offices and residences of the consular staff in the city.
In Kolkata, civil aviation security sources said the two protocol officials of the US consulate have been asked to surrender their entry passes for free movement inside the airport.
“The passes allowed the US consulate officials to enter restricted zones inside the terminal right up to the aircraft. If the passes are withdrawn, the consul general or any other senior diplomat will have to pass through the airport -- like any other passenger -- without any escort,” a senior official said in Kolkata.
(With inputs from HT corresponts in Chennai and Hyderabad)