The US government has joined issue with an Indian diplomat's
daughter who is suing New York city for a whopping $1.5 million
for false arrest, saying family members don't enjoy diplomatic
Krittika Biswas, an 18-year-old student of John Bowne High School
and daughter of Debashish Biswas, vice consul (administration) at
the Indian Consulate General in New York, filed a notice of claim
She said her claims of diplomatic immunity were ignored when she
was handcuffed and locked up for more than 24 hours Feb 8 after a
shoddy probe by administrators into alleged obscene emails sent to
two teachers in her school.
"My understanding is that as a family member of consular officer,
rather, she does not enjoy immunity from jurisdiction or
inviolability," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told
"The Vienna Convention on Consular Affairs provides that consular
officers are not liable to arrest or detention pending trial,
except in the case of a felony where a court warrant is required,"
he said. "But that provision does not apply to family members."
Toner acknowledged that diplomats' family members carry a
diplomatic passport, "but again, our understanding is that these
provisions, however, don't apply to their family members and that
this is different for consular officers versus those in the
The spokesman insisted that the incident would not affect US ties
with New Delhi saying, "The US-Indian relationship, I would
counter, has never been stronger."
"We've got a strategic partnership in place. We're cooperating at
an unprecedented level on education and science and technology, as
well as economics, trade, health, agriculture.
"You name it - the sector - we're cooperating with India well in
it. And this is obviously to the benefit of the citizens of both
our countries, rather," Toner said.
Asked if the US had received any communication from New Delhi on
the New York incident, the spokesman said: "Not that I'm aware of.
But again, this is a matter of ongoing litigation, so I'm
(Arun Kumar can
be contacted at email@example.com)