A senior leader of India’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has called for the arrest of gay US diplomats in the country after an Indian diplomat was arrested in the US – causing a major diplomatic incident between the two countries.
Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade was arrested in New York after her nanny and housekeeper went to the authorities after being sacked by Khobragade in June.
Authorities allege Khobragade was paying her housekeeper Sangeeta Richard only $3.31 per hour for her duties when she had claimed to authorities to have being paying her $4,500 per month.
Khobragade was arrested 12 December by New York police officers while dropping her daughter at school and she alleges that she was handcuffed and strip searched by police before being locked up ‘with common criminals and drug addicts.’
Khobragade maintains she was given multiple body cavity searches during her 6 hours in a police holding cell and the case has triggered uproar among the Indian public towards the US.
As a result BJP party leader Yashwant Sinha has called for US diplomats who have gay sex in the country to be arrested under India’s Section 377 anti-sodomy law that was recently reinstated by the Supreme Court – saying if Indian diplomats are not given full diplomatic immunity then US diplomats must face the full force of India’s laws.
‘Media has reported that we have issued visas to a number of US diplomats' companions,’ Sinha, a former Indian foreign minister, said, according to the Times of India.
‘”Companions” means that they are of the same sex. Now, after the Supreme Court ruling, it is completely illegal in our country, just as paying less wages was illegal in the US. So, why does not the government of India go ahead and arrest them and punish them?’
The US State Department denies Khobrogade’s diplomatic immunity was violated as the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations only protects diplomats from prosecution for acts performed as part of their consular duties.