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Shinde, Modi cancel meeting with US Congressional team

Last updated on: December 17, 2013 14:13 IST

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Tuesday cancelled his meeting with a senior United States Congressional delegation ostensibly as a mark of protest against the treatment meted out to India's deputy consul general in New York.

However, Home Ministry officials said Shinde is busy in Parliament and, hence, he will not be in a position to meet the American delegation. The home minister's programme, which was prepared on Monday evening, had clearly mentioned the scheduled meeting at 5 pm.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi also refused to meet a senior United States Congressional delegation as a mark of protest against the treatment meted out to India's Deputy Consul General in New York.

"Refused to meet the visiting delegation in solidarity with our nation, protesting ill treatment meted to our lady diplomat in USA," Modi tweeted.

Officials said the meeting was cancelled on Tuesday morning. Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had on Monday cancelled her meeting with the delegation as she felt it was not "appropriate" to meet the parliamentarians of the US, which has badly treated one of India's senior diplomats.

National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, who also had a scheduled meeting with the five-member US team, did not meet them, apparently for the same reason.

The delegation comprised Congressmen George Holding (Republican -- North Carolina), Pete Olson (Republican --Texas) David Schweikert (Republican -- Arizona), Robert Woodall (Republican -- Georgia) and Madeleine Bordallo (Democrat -- Guam).

The repeated snubs came after India reacted sharply to Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade being arrested and handcuffed in public on visa fraud charges last week by summoning US Ambassador Nancy Powell and issuing a demarche in this regard.

In Washington also, the matter was taken up with the US government "forcefully" through the Indian mission. Thirty-nine-year-old Khobragade, a 1999-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, was taken into custody on a street in New York as she was dropping her daughter to school before being released on a $250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.

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