Friday, April 4, 2014

US/India: New Delhi Seemingly Cannot Let Bygones be Bygones After Arrest of Indian Diplomat

According to The New York Post,  an off-duty NYPD police officer has been detained in India on a weapons charge after authorities there discovered three live rounds Officer Manny Encarnación, 49,  accidentally packed in his luggage.

It is unknown as to whether the three rounds were contained in Encarnacion's carry-on or checked luggage.

Officer Manny Encarnación was arrested early last month while traveling in New Delhi, where he was visiting his wife. He has been barred from leaving the country until the case is resolved, Indian officials assert.

NYPD Deputy Chief Kim Royster said the Department was working with the US State Department in an effort to have the charges dropped so Encarnación could return to NYC.

In a letter dated Friday (March 4), Representative Peter King (R-NY) asked US Secretary of State John Kerry to look into the situation. 

COMMENT: The New York Republican called the arrest "an excessive act by the Indian government" and suggested it was payback for last year's arrest and strip-search of an Indian consular official for alleged visa fraud in New York.

US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said she was aware of the reports of the officer's arrest, but declined to comment on the specifics of the case because of privacy concerns.

Assuredly, State Departments spokespeople are trained to decline comment on any issue that requires senior-level clearance.

Asked whether the US is worried whether Americans are potential targets for retribution because of how the Indian diplomat was treated in New York City, Ms. Harf responded, "I think we feel like we've moved past this and hope the Indians have as well. ... India is a very close partner."

Ms. Harf chose not to answer the question, although she did respond.

Officer had gone to the Department's firing range before he left for India and put the bullets in a coat pocket, according to police. He packed the coat for the trip, forgetting that the ammo was there, police officials said.

Even if Officer Encarnación had accidentally left the three live rounds in his luggage, to cover all the bases, considering India's sensitivity to engage in some "payback" against US officials, a police colleague should have gone through Manny's checked and carry-on luggage to ensure that nothing was left to chance.

Despite Deputy Chief Royster's best efforts, knowing India as well as I do, I doubt very much whether the Indian government will drop the charge against Officer Encarnación, as they no doubt are reveling in New Delhi, looking forward to the NYPD's officer's court appearance on April 17, where the Indian government will hope to do their worst.