Senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, arrested in New York on charges of visa fraud, was put through both strip and cavity searches, procedures normally used for criminals.
The 39-year-old deputy Consul General in New York, after being arrested and handcuffed in public while dropping her daughter to school on Thursday, was detained with sex workers and drug addicts, sources said.
"As a diplomat, she is entitled to certain courtesies. Let alone the courtesies, she was subjected to strip and cavity searches like a ordinary criminal," a source said.
When asked about the matter, US State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf did not deny that the diplomat was made to go through the searches but maintained "standard procedures" were followed during her arrest.
Evading a direct answer to questions on whether Khobragade was strip searched and confined with drug addicts after her detention, Harf said, "Diplomatic Security, which is under the State Department purview, followed standard procedures during her arrest."
However, she referred allegations regarding the inhuman treatment of Khobragade to US Marshalls, saying the diplomat was handed over to them by the Diplomatic Security.
"Our Diplomatic Security folks followed our standard procedures, which I'm assuming are standard for diplomats because that's who our Diplomatic Security deals with," she said.
The 1999-batch IFS officer was released on a USD 250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.
In New Delhi, India reacted sharply to the arrest and strip search of Khobragade and initiated several steps to downgrade privileges enjoyed by American diplomats and their families, including withdrawing of airport passes and stopping import clearances for the US Embassy.
India also asked all US Consulate personnel and their families to turn in their ID cards immediately which will "now be downgraded on par with with what the US provides to our Consulates", sources said.