India Demands Apology Over Treatment of Diplomat Devyani Khobragade

John Kerry and Indian officials to begin talks amid outrage.

Activists shout slogans during a protest against the alleged mistreatment of New York-based Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, near the U.S. Consulate in Hyderabad, India.
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Indian officials are displeased over U.S. treatment of an Indian diplomat arrested last week and want an apology.

Early Thursday, India's Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Kamil Nath, requested that the U.S. apologize over the way it handled the arrest of deputy consul general Devyani Khobragade last week.

Khobragade was accused of submitting false documents to acquire a visa for her housekeeper, who allegedly was working for $3.31 per hour -- a great deal less than the New York minimum wage of $9.75, CNN reports. She was arrested and strip-searched after dropping her daughter off at school, and held in a prison cell with other women, before she was released.

[READ: India Removes U.S. Embassy Barricades in Retaliation for Diplomat’s Arrest]

Khobragade claims her housekeeper blackmailed her for the work visa, The Associated Press reports.

"An apology from America, acceptance of their fault, is what we will be satisfied with," Nath said in a public statement.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said the diplomat's treatment was "deplorable," CNN reports. Other Indian officials have described Khobragade's treatment as "barbaric," CNN reports.

Secretary of State John Kerry expressed "regret" over the incident in a call to Indian National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, Reuters reports. However, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the prosecutor in the case, released a statement that said Khobragade "was accorded courtesies well beyond what other defendants, most of whom are American citizens, are accorded."

 

"One wonders why there is so much outrage about the alleged treatment of the Indian national accused of perpetrating these acts, but precious little outrage about the alleged treatment of the Indian victim and her spouse?" Bharara said.

The incident and subsequent fallout have proved detrimental to U.S.-Indian relations, with Indian members of parliament calling on their government to take action against the U.S. But parties on both sides are working to reconcile the situation before it gets out of hand.

[ALSO: 5 Ways India Is Like a Magnifying Mirror for the U.S.]

"We don't want this to negatively impact our bilateral relationship (with India), and we'll keep talking about it with them on the ground and here," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told USA Today.

Indian government officials also recognize the need to settle matters between the two allies.

"In terms of our relationship with the United States, I do feel this must be resolved," Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said after he informed the press of his plans to discuss the matter with Kerry. "I can't believe that either side wants to put at risk a very valuable relationship in which we have made an enormous investment."

According to Fox News, Khurshid also told reporters Khobragade's housekeeper was at fault, and the diplomat should never have been arrested.

Khobragade has been moved to India's Permanent Mission at the United Nations, where she is expected to receive full diplomatic immunity, CNN reports.

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