United States has dismissed a video floating on Internet depicting CCTV Footage/Video of Strip Search of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade after her arrest on December 12.
Talking to Media persons in Washington DC, US State department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf called it a Hoax and termed it a “dangerous and provocative fabrication”. Below are excerpts from her briefing
QUESTION: There’s a video in circulation on some of the social media sites about the strip search and arrest of the Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade. I don’t know about the authenticity, but it’s spreading very fast. Do you – have you – has the State Department seen it? Can you say it’s authentic video or not authentic video?
MS. HARF: This video, which we are aware of, is absolutely not footage of Ms. Khobragade. Obviously, we’re aware of the footage. It’s – we would call it a dangerous and provocative fabrication. This hoax video, which I think has appeared on some news websites without, obviously, confirming its authenticity because it’s not, we find it deeply troubling, irresponsible, and reckless, and condemn again this dangerous fabrication. I want to make very clear this is not video of her.
QUESTION: But is this the way normally when it – someone is arrested, this is how they are strip-searched?
MS. HARF: Well, we spoke with the Marshals about this issue and they did confirm – and they can speak more for themselves – that the footage in question does not depict U.S. Marshal employees, obviously that the search methods depicted in the video are not U.S. Marshals policy. Again, I’d leave it to them to speak more to this. I haven’t watched the video myself, but I want to be very clear in saying this is not how we do things here.
QUESTION: Another question is Indian prime minister noted that in his 10 years rule the U.S.-India nuclear deal was the best moment in his life. But the U.S. industry is still not happy with the deal with India dragging its feet on implementation, liability cases. So where does the deal today stand?
MS. HARF: I don’t know what the latest is. I’m happy to check with our folks.
QUESTION: And the prime minister also said in his remarks in response to a question from Washington Post that this episode has resulted in a hiccup in the bilateral ties between India and U.S. Do you agree with the assessment?
MS. HARF: Well, I think what we’re focused on and what I repeatedly is how to move the relationship forward and get it back in a place that is best for both countries. Clearly, I mean, when you hear the Secretary express regret about something, that means that everything hasn’t gone as it should. And what we’re focused on now is getting the relationship back on a really strong footing. We just have too much important work to do together going forward on a host of issues in the region and around the world.
QUESTION: As the diplomatic talks continue, is it headed towards resolving this issue, or do you think it’s going to linger on for some time?
MS. HARF: Well, again, there’s a judicial process, a legal process, underway. And I don’t have any estimates for how long that will all take to play out. There’s also our diplomatic discussions as well. Just nothing new to announce or guess about here today.
QUESTION: Yesterday, I had asked a question about India deploying around 150 police persons outside the U.S. Embassy New Delhi. Was there any fresh security threat or this is – what is the assessment about that?
MS. HARF: Well, we’ve welcomed statements from the Ministry of External Affairs that India is fully committed to ensuring the safety and security of all diplomats in Delhi and elsewhere, and we appreciate the efforts of the Indian police outside of our facilities. Beyond that, I’m not going to get into a lot of specifics about our security posture, but certainly, we appreciate the police’s efforts, and we’ll move forward from here.
QUESTION: So you are satisfied with the steps taken by the —
MS. HARF: We appreciated these, and we have noted that the governments – that they’re committed to maintaining security, and we have no reason to think otherwise. Thanks.