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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Krittika Biswas case: Indian government steps in

The Indian government has come out in support of Krittika Biswas, the daughter of an Indian diplomat, who was arrested and spent 24 hours in jail in the US on false charges.

Expressing India's concerns, Indian Ambassador to the US, Meera Shankar, said, "We have, subsequent to her release also, expressed our concerns to the US government about the way in which she was treated. It's a case which obviously concerns all of us."
Krittika Biswas, daughter of an Indian Diplomat, is suing New York City's government for $1.5 million over a wrongful arrest on suspicion of sending obscene e-mails to her teacher in Queens' John Browne High School. She was subsequently cleared of the offence.

The 18-year-old was reportedly kept in custody for more than 24 hours on Feb. 8 and also was sent for more than a month to a special suspension program by her school despite being cleared by investigators.

Krittika was asked to confess to a crime of cyber bullying " in the assistant principal's office. When she pleaded innocence to sending obscene e-mails to two teachers at the school, the basis for the police to be called, she was handcuffed "painfully"; walked out of the school premises. At the detention center at 107 Precinct, the Honor student's ordeal became worse.
She was not read her Miranda rights, continued to be interrogated while being handcuffed, and was not allowed to go to the bathroom.

Krittika was not allowed to call her parents; her plea for diplomatic immunity ignored; wrongly told by officers that only her father had immunity, not her.

Her father, Debashish Biswas, is a vice counsel at the Indian Consulate in New York. She maintained that she had not committed any crime.

Ravi Batra, lawyer of Krittika Biswas, said her arrest on February 8, which lasted more than 24 hours, was a violation of international, federal, State and city law.

Mr. Batra said that neither the father nor the Consulate General of India, Prabhu Dayal, was informed of the arrest.

Krittika said a police officer told her if she did not confess she would have to spend time in prison with prostitutes and persons with HIV. "I was sitting there [school] with handcuffs on," she said.
Mr. Dayal said Ms. Biswas deserved compensation from the government. "She has undergone mental torture and physical torture," he said. "This has scarred her mind for the rest of he life."

However, the incident has no bearing on India-U.S. relations, said Mr. Dayal. "This is an aberration... a wrongful act of local officials," he said.

Mr. Batra suggested that Mayor Michael Bloomberg give Ms. Biswas 'a key to the city' to 'unruffle some of the ruffled feathers.'

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