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US: Video footage of strip search is hoax


US dismissed a video as a hoax purportedly showing CCTV footage of senior Indian diplomat ‘s strip search after her arrest

Devyani-KhobragadeWashington: The US has dismissed as a hoax a video purportedly showing CCTV footage of senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade’s strip search after her arrest, saying it is a “dangerous and provocative fabrication”.

“This video, which we are aware of, is absolutely not footage of Ms Khobragade. We would call it a dangerous and provocative fabrication,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said yesterday.

The video circulated on social media shows officials purportedly strip searching a woman in custody. The woman is seen screaming during the search.

“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,” Harf said.

The 1999-batch IFS officer, who was Deputy Consul General in New York, was arrested last month for allegedly making false declarations in a visa application for her maid. She was released on a USD 250,000 bond.

The 39-year-old diplomat was strip searched and held with criminals, triggering a row between India and the US. India retaliated by downgrading privileges of certain category of US diplomats among other steps last month.

Harf said the State Department had spoken with the US Marshals Service about the video and officials had confirmed that it was not genuine.

“They confirm that the footage in question does not depict US marshal employees, obviously that the search methods depicted in the video are not US Marshals’ policy. I haven’t watched the video myself. But I want to be very clear in saying this is not how we do things here,” she said.


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