NEW YORK – India’s deputy consul general, Devyani Khobragade, was stopped and frisked in New York after dropping her daughter off at school and forced to hop on one foot. The pat down resulted in the discovery of copies of false documents used obtain a work visa for her female housekeeper.
Khobragade was brought to a courthouse where she was placed under arrest and later strip searched and placed in a holding cell. She eventually posted bond and was duly released.
In response the Indian government has removed security barriers around the U.S. embassy in New Delhi and taken away U.S. diplomats’ identification cards that give them diplomatic privileges.
“If they are not going to look out for our country’s representatives why should we look out for theirs?” said India’s Deputy Foreign Minister Preneet Kaur. “Perhaps if she had come from a country with Caucasian diplomats Mrs. Khobragade would not have been subjected to this treatment.”
The NYPD’s stop and frisk practices have recently been criticized with concerns over racial profiling and privacy rights. The subject of strip searching has also come under scrutiny.
“The common practice in the U.S. of strip-searching people who the police take into custody raises important human rights questions about treating individuals with dignity and respecting their privacy,” said Nisha Varia, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch, a New York based advocacy group.
Devyani Khobragade has been moved to India’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations and could not be reached for comment.