|Backlash grows over Indian consul in New York charged with domestic helper visa fraud
The father of an Indian diplomat who was arrested in New York City on visa fraud charges has called his daughter's treatment in the United States “barbaric.''
Uttam Khobragade told the TimesNow TV news channel his daughter is not a criminal.
(Pictured, protesters outside the US Consulate in Hyderabad, India).
Devyani Khobragade was charged last week with making false statements and visa fraud.
Prosecutors in New York say Khobragade claimed the Indian worker who was her domestic helper would get US$4,500 per month but was paid below the minimum wage.
The case threatens to transform into a serious diplomatic row between the United States and India. Officials in New Delhi say the treatment meted out to the Indian diplomat was “absolutely unacceptable.''
Khobragade is India's deputy consul in New York.
Reports said the consul was arrested and handcuffed in public for allegedly lying on the US visa application for an Indian national who worked for her as a domestic help.
The Indian embassy in Washington said Friday the detention was based on “allegations raised by the officer's former India-based domestic assistant.’’
The domestic worker had “absconded'' from her employer in June and was already the subject of an injunction issued by the High Court in Delhi, the embassy added in a statement on its website.
Meanwhile, top Indian politicians said they snubbed a visiting US Congressional delegation over the arrest.
India's opposition candidate for prime minister, Narendra Modi, said he had “refused'' to meet with the US visitors.
“Refused to meet the visiting USA delegation in solidarity with our nation, protesting ill-treatment meted to our lady diplomat in USA,'' Modi said in a tweet.
The speaker of India's lower house of parliament also called off a meeting with the US group scheduled for Monday, her office said.
“Four US Congressmen visiting India had an appointment with the speaker Meira Kumar but we cancelled it on Monday morning on her directions,'' senior parliamentary official U.S. Saxena told AFP.
He said “the reason for cancellation of this meeting was the treatment meted out to our diplomat in New York.’’—AP/AFP