Tearful Indian diplomat tells of invasive US body probe

Tearful Indian diplomat tells of invasive US body probe

New Delhi - A female Indian diplomat told how she broke down in tears after being arrested, stripped and cavity-searched in New York, as the US embassy became the focus Wednesday of outrage at her treatment.

Devyani Khobragade, the deputy consul general in New York, described how she endured "repeated handcuffing, stripping and cavity searches" after her arrest which has sparked a series of diplomatic reprisals from India.

Nationalist protestors were due to gather at the American embassy in New Delhi to vent their anger, the day after mechanical diggers and tow-trucks removed security barricades from outside the mission.

Rattled by the scale of the anger in India, the US State Department sought to calm tensions and said the arrest last Thursday should not be allowed to damage bilateral relations.

The Indian media meanwhile hailed the government for its strong line as Khobragade's case dominated television news bulletins, in the build-up to national elections.

In an email to colleagues published by the media, Khobragade said she stressed to arresting authorities that she had diplomatic immunity only to suffer repeated searches and jailed with "common criminals".

"I must admit that I broke down many times as the indignities of repeated handcuffing, stripping and cavity searches, swabbing, in a hold-up with common criminals and drug addicts were all being imposed upon me despite my incessant assertions of immunity," she said in the email published in the Times of India.

"I got the strength to regain composure and remain dignified thinking that I must represent all of my colleagues and my country with confidence and pride," she added.

Khobragade was arrested as she dropped her children at school for allegedly underpaying her Indian domestic helper, and for lying on the helper's visa application form.

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