Kolkata: Scores of students of organisations of the Left parties and the Congress courted arrest Thursday while protesting in front of the US consulate here against the arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York.
Several hundred students of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) and Students` Federation of India (SFI) demanded that barricades outside the US consulate in the city be removed, as was done in New Delhi, in the aftermath of the demeaning strip-search and examination of body cavities of the Indian diplomat by authorities in the US, in a case where the woman diplomat was accused of not paying her domestic help the minimum wage prescribed in that country.
"When the central government has taken a firm stand and shown the way by removing the traffic barricades from outside the US Embassy in New Delhi, the West Bengal government has shamelessly refused to take any steps and continue providing excessive security, which is absolutely needless," Sayandip Mitra, DYFI state president, said.
Holding aloft banners and posters, the slogan-shouting students marched from Dharamtalla, in the city`s centre, till they were stopped by the police at Sudder Street crossing.
"Instead of acting against the imperialist US, the state government has unleashed its police on hapless students by arresting over 100 students," said Mitra, claiming that over 1,000 SFI and DYFI members participated in the march.
Congress activists also participated in a similar rally to condemn the arrest of the diplomat.
The Indian diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, who was serving as India`s deputy consul-general in New York, was arrested Dec 12. She has since been shifted to India`s permanent mission to the United Nations, a position that accords her full diplomatic immunity.