Khobragade case: Mayawati gives a Dalit spin, Khurshid vows to restore diplomat's dignity
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BSP chief Mayawati on Wednesday accused the government of being "anti-Dalit", saying it had been dragging its feet in the Devyani Khobragade case because she belongs to a Scheduled Caste.
Amid widespread outrage in Parliament, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told MPs that he "would not return to the House" unless he was able to "restore" the diplomat's "dignity".
"Whatever has happened with a Dalit lady in the US, we cannot ignore it. But it has also unmasked the Centre's anti-Dalit mentality," Mayawati said outside Parliament.
"Had it been any other woman, the government would have taken some major action by now. But it has been many days since the incident happened and the government is yet to initiate any concrete step. What the government is doing is not clear yet. It seems the Centre is not serious. This is an important national issue," she said.
Speaking earlier in Parliament, Mayawati deplored the "humiliating and insulting" way in which Khobragade had been arrested and frisked, and said this was "a matter of great concern and government should take the issue very seriously".
There was outrage in both Houses over the issue, and MPs cutting across party lines demanded strong retaliatory action by the government, and an apology from the US.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told Parliament that Khobragade was a victim of a conspiracy.
"She is innocent... It is not the illegality that she is accused of, but the illegality she refused to oblige," Khurshid said. He described the US action as totally unacceptable, and declared that India would intervene "effectively and specifically" in what was now a question of the "nation".
"Today, our paramount concern is to ensure that the dignity of our officer is preserved... The tragedy is that this is not an incident in which two countries are involved. This is an incident in which individuals are involved... It is no longer an issue of an individual, but the sovereignty of a nation is involved," Khurshid said.