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Indian girl sues New York City over wrongful arrest

— Photo: PTI

Krittika Biswas addresses a press conference in Manhattan on Tuesday.

New York: An Indian diplomat's daughter 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.

Krittika Biswas, daughter of the vice-counsel at the Indian Consulate in Manhattan, Debashish Biswas, also claims she was ill-treated in prison and was forced to go to the toilet in front of other prisoners.

Her lawyer, Ravi Batra, 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.

Diplomatic immunity

Mr. Batra claimed Ms. Biswas (18) had diplomatic immunity that prevented her from being arrested. But the Consulate General said U.S. authorities informed him the immunity did not extend to family members of the diplomat. “That did not cut any ice,” he told PTI.

“They based it [the arrest] on basically nothing,” said Ms. Biswas, adding the school did not suspend or arrest the Chinese student who actually sent the e-mails. “I don't know why he wasn't arrested... the principal pushed for my arrest.”

Ms. Biswas 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.

The New York Police Department did not respond to calls and an e-mail seeking response.

Mr. Batra lashed out at Principal Howard Kwait and the teacher, Jamie Kim Ross, who was the recipient of the emails.

“They did not do the due diligence before getting her arrested,” he said. “They were dead wrong.”

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.” — PTI

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