Diplomat issue (pics): Outrage in Parliament, govt vows strong action

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New Delhi, Dec 18: Amidst outrage expressed by members in Parliament, India today asserted that it will intervene "effectively and specifically" to ensure the return and restoration of dignity of its Deputy Consul General in New York who has been arrested on charges of visa rules violation.

Responding to concerns expressed by members across party lines in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid condemned the US action and said he will not return to the House if he fails in his responsibility to bring back the arrested diplomat Devyani Khobragade.

Spelling out the series of steps initiated to scale down the privileges granted to US diplomats in India, he said there was a "conspiracy" in which Khobragade was "virtually trapped". He said the diplomat is "innocent" and the US action was unwarranted.

"It is not illegality that she is accused of, but the illegality she refused to oblige," he said. Maintaining that the government was not over-reacting by taking a slew of measures against the US, Khurshid said the treatment meted out to Khobragade had "not happened out of blue" and there is a "history" behind it.

He asserted that the government is determined and "will intervene effectively and specifically to ensure that dignity of the diplomat is preserved." Khurshid made suo motu statements in both the Houses after members expressed outrage with demands that a resolution be passed to condemn the US action.

"It is my responsibility. We will bring back the diplomat (arrested in New York) and restore her dignity. If I fail to do it, I will not return to this House," he said in Rajya Sabha. In the Lok Sabha, he said, "First and foremost, our effort is to bring her out of this situation and then we will talk to the US government."

In New Delhi

Delhi Police remove barricades outside the US Embassy in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

Delhi Police remove barricades outside the US Embassy in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

Delhi Police remove barricades outside the US Embassy in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

Delhi Police remove barricades outside the US Embassy in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

Police remove a barricade that had been erected as a safety measure outside the main entrance of U S Embassy in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

Diplomat Devyani Khobragade's father Uttam Khobragade after meeting Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde at Parliament House in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New York

India's Deputy Consulate General in New York Devyani Khobragade at an AIA event recently in New York.

PTI

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