Will bring back Devyani at any cost: India

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NEW DELHI: “It is my duty to bring the lady back and we have to restore her dignity and I will do it at any cost,” Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid told India’s parliament.

Khurshid also confirmed a string of diplomatic reprisals against the US for the incident, including ordering the return of identity cards and airport passes for US consular officials that speed up travel in India.

Other measures include halting clearance for the US embassy of imported goods including alcohol and sales of items within India such as cars.

India will also demand employment contract and bank account details of Indian nationals employed by US consular officials around the country.

“I don’t think this has ever been done in this country in the past,” Khurshid said.

“Today, our paramount concern, interest and determination is to be able to intervene effectively and specifically to ensure the dignity of our officer is absolutely preserved,” he added.

The comments came after Devyani Khobragade, the deputy consul general in New York, described how she endured “repeated handcuffing, stripping and cavity searches” after her arrest last Thursday.

Khobragade, 39, 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.

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

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

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