What Likely Happened During NYC Indian Diplomat Devyani’s Strip Search?

While I was going through it, although I must admit that I broke down many times as the indignities of repeated handcuffing, stripping and cavity searches, swabbing, in a holdup with common criminals and drug addicts were all being imposed upon me despite my incessant assertions of immunity, I got the strength to regain composure and remain dignified thinking that I must represent all of my colleagues and my country with confidence and pride,

– NYC Indian Diplomat Devyani Khobragade describing her Strip Search
Source: Times of India

Devyani Khobragade Strip SearchedMillions of Indians are getting their panties and knickers in a twist over the strip search of their diplomat Devyani Khobragade following her arrest in New York City on charges of Visa fraud and making false statements.

Surely Indians’ anger would intensify a million-fold now that the U.S. Marshals Service has confirmed Devyani was indeed strip searched as claimed in media reports.

Although Devyani was arrested by the Diplomatic Security, her post-arrest processing was handled by the U.S. Marshals Service.

In a statement Tuesday, the U.S. Marshals Service acknowledged Devyani was strip searched and “subject to the same search procedures as other U.S. Marshals Service arrestees held within the general prisoner population in the Southern District of New York.”

According to U.S. Marshals Service regulations, strip searches are authorized only when there’s reasonable suspicion that the arrestee may be carrying contraband and/or weapons, is considered to be a security, escape and/or suicide risk.

If you go by the “reasonable suspicion” criteria, Devyani was not a person who should have been subjected to a strip search at all.

U.S. Marshals Strip Search – Procedure

Since the U.S. is a litigious society, the U.S. Marshals Service has clear rules on how a strip search is to be conducted.

These strip search rules are also put out on the Internet so that the public may know how it is conducted.

A strip search is usually conducted by a Deputy of the U.S. Marshals Service of the same sex. A witness of the same sex is also required to be present.

Here’s the likely scenario of how Devyani Khobragade’s strip search went going by the U.S. Marshals Service regulations.

As per U.S. Marshals Service procedures, Devyani’s strip search would have included a thorough search of both her clothing and a visual inspection of her naked body including all body cavities.

At the outset, Devyani would have been instructed to remove all her clothing, valuables, hairpieces etc.

No Touching

It is important to understand that a strip search under U.S. Marshals Service rules allows only for a visual examination and “should not involve touching the skin surface.”

No touching allowed unless the arrestee refuses to cooperate in the strip search process.

After Devyani removed her clothing etc, U.S. Marshals would have first conducted a thorough visual examination of her body from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet.

The marshals would have then asked Devyani to brush her hair vigorously to dislodge any contraband. Although Devyani may have been squeaky clean, other arrestees might not be. So marshals make no distinctions for Indian Foreign Service officers and have a standardized procedure for everyone.

Next, a marshal would have looked behind her ears. Then the marshal would have inspected Devyani’s ear canals, nostrils and mouth.

U.S. marshals also look under the tongue, roof of the mouth and between the lips and gums.

Close Attention – Vagina, Breasts, Armpits

Now would have come the extremely agonizing and humiliating part for Devyani.

As per policy, U.S. Marshals would have carefully inspected the front of Devyani’s body.

The U.S. Marshals Service manual requires the Deputy conducting the strip search to pay “close attention” to armpits, breasts and vagina.

It’s likely that in the past arrestees have hidden illegal stuff like blades, small knives and other weapons or contraband in these sensitive body parts and so the U.S. Marshals Service asks its Deputies to pay “close attention” to these areas.

After inspecting the front of her body, the marshals would have ordered Devyani to face in the opposite direction and conducted a visual inspection of her back side.

By this time, Devyani surely would have been in a nauseous and miserable state.

But there was more distress to come for the 39-year-old Indian diplomat, if one goes by the U.S. Marshals Service rules.

Devyani Khobragade During Happier Times in ManhattanDevyani Khobragade – During Happier Times in Manhattan
(Picture courtesy: Twitter)

Posterior Search

The U.S. Marshals would have ordered Devyani to spread her legs and bend forward at the waist.

As per U.S. Marshals Service rules, the marshal would then have carefully observed Devyani’s anus and vagina from the rear.

Finally, the marshals would have observed the bottoms and between the toes of both her feet.

Upon conclusion of the strip search, the Deputy responsible for the search would have then thoroughly searched Devyani’s clothing and property before returning them to her.

It’s unlikely that the more intrusive “Digital-cavity Search” was conducted on Devyani although it cannot be ruled out.

Devyani – Strip Search Unjustified

Although the U.S. Marshals have justified the strip search of Devyani as a standard procedure, it’s completely inappropriate in Devyani’s case.

Not every arrestee processed by the U.S. Marshals Service is a drug peddler, hooker or a homicidal maniac.

If any arrestee warranted an exception from the degrading humiliation of a strip search, it was Devyani Khobragade.

At the time of her arrest, Devyani had no past criminal history.

Nor were her alleged crimes (Visa fraud and making false statements about wages to her maid) of a nature that warranted a strip search.

On what ground can the U.S. Marshals suspect that Devyani, a Deputy Consul General of the Indian Consulate in NYC, was carrying contraband and/or weapons or that she was a security, escape or suicide risk.

Given all that we know about Devyani’s actions in NYC, there seems to be no justification at all for her arrest.

At the most, Devyani should have been subjected to a pat-down search.

Related Stories:
Who the Heck is Devyani Khobragade?
Scheduled Caste Father Screams Racial Bias at Americans Over Devyani’s Arrest
Sexy Indian Diplomat Devyani Khobragade Arrested in NYC for Alleged Visa Fraud
Will Devyani’s Arrest Trigger a Diplomatic Row Between India & America?
Legal Complaint Against Devyani Khobragade
NYC Indian Consulate Has a Maid in India Problem


8 Responses to "What Likely Happened During NYC Indian Diplomat Devyani’s Strip Search?"

  1. Aswin_Kini   December 18, 2013 at 4:04 am

    @SI: “Millions of Indians are getting their panties and knickers in a twist over the strip search of their diplomat Devyani Khobragade following her arrest in New York City on charges of Visa fraud and making false statements.”

    I don’t think they were angry because she was strip-searched, but rather because her arrest definitely didn’t warrant a strip search…. As you said in your post, only people suspected of carrying weapons, suicide pills, or any other harmful devices will be strip-searched.

    I wonder how Americans would feel if one of their diplomats got strip searched in another country without a proper reason. It’s ironical that a country, which boasts itself of impartial treatment towards minorities, equal rights, etc indulges in the most blatant case of activities biased towards a specific community.. Truly, America is only lucky country – one which boasts of being truly civil and secular, yet indulges in double standards….

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Yes, she should not have been strip-searched!

    Unfortunately, she was! 🙁

  2. boopalanj   December 18, 2013 at 9:35 am



    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    The question: Is Diplomatic Immunity retroactive, i.e. applicable for past actions?

    I doubt it.

  3. Aswin_Kini   December 18, 2013 at 11:48 am

    @SI: I still don’t understand the point? Diplomatic Immunity??? She was treated equivalent to a hardcore criminal…..

    And btw, do Indian Diplomats really earn only about USD 4000-5000??

    My brother, who went onsite recently almost got around that same figure? My point is what is the use being a diplomat if you do not have basic benefits? And how the hell is she supposed to have a maid with that low salary? Crazy!!!

    Searchindia.com Responds:

    1. Devyani’s official salary cannot have been more than $4,000-$4,500.

    Nothing surprising in government workers being paid a low salary.

    No Indian opts for a government job for just the salary.

    There are a lot of perks for senior NYC diplomats – Free housing on the Upper East Side in Manhattan (Upper East Side in Manhattan is a very expensive area), medical benefits, entertainment allowances, travel perks, car and, above all, an Indian maid’s services. 😉

    2. You write: And how the hell is she [Devyani] supposed to have a maid with that low salary? Crazy!!!

    Devyani should have thought about all that before bringing along a maid to the U.S.!

    • boopalanj   December 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      Government employees’ “official” salary is almost always low.

      But the benefits are usually many that other salaried employees can’t think of. Even though some IT professionals are paid in the range that you mentioned, usually the person has to find his or her own way of accommodation, such as to find a studio apartment and get into a rental agreement, that will eat up a 1000 USD every month on average (May be, if you share it with others, not sure on the right number though).

      Diplomats would enjoy a special care in terms of medical services, and sometimes are exempted from few local taxes. It all depends on the country of your posting. If we’re posted to Pakistan / Sri lanka, etc, we can’t expect much other than being summoned very often 😉

      The travelling & exploring opportunities, likely chances to work with some of the high commands in the home country departments, dining with leaders of the country you’re in, attending conferences and business parties, and making political and business connections are what I would consider make this job attractive. For ex., Fmr. prime minister I.K.Gujral and Fmr. President K.R.Narayan worked as part of IFS previously.

      Searchindia.com Responds:

      I don’t believe Gujral was ever part of the IFS.

      Unmarried Indian programmers usually share apartments or townhomes! After all, the whole purpose of coming here is to save and shave money.

      • boopalanj   December 18, 2013 at 1:46 pm

        He served as an Ambassador to Soviet. I read one of his colleague’s book (Some D.P.Srini-unknown-vasan) and his experiences.

        [Wiki says he was “appointed”, so, not in the regular IFS route.]

        Searchindia.com Responds:


        Off-topic: Just started watching a German thriller – The Silence (2010)


  4. sam   December 18, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    If this piece gets to Indian media na jaane kya hoga..

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You mean about America Peering Deep into Indian Assholes and Pussies? 😉

    Isn’t that what Diplomacy is all about?

    The NSA has been tapping Indian phones for decades trying to identify Indian assholes without much success. Now thanks to Devyani, U.S. has a good idea of an Indian Asshole!

    • boopalanj   December 27, 2013 at 3:55 am

      On the NSA phone tapping, here was a related article yesterday.


      Btw, there is nothing new. If a researcher can write a data mining algorithm to identify people, we can be sure NSA will do a better job.

      The stanford researcher might soon find his place in NSA.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      NSA is drowning in data, unable to make sense of the vast trove.

      On just cell phone locations, they collect 5 billion records a day!

      To keep themselves, the NSA is handing out information to local law enforcement and asking them to create parallel investigative trails . Entirely illegal, of course.

      The problem now is, once you give candy to a kid it becomes impossible ] to get it back.

      Now that the NSA has gotten used to vast spying powers on everyone including us, they are reluctant to part with it.

      Worse, we have a ball-less chutiya for a President who lacks the courage to confront them because he’s scared they (i.e. NSA) have the goods on him. 🙁

  5. aaa001   December 27, 2013 at 2:21 am

    Search India, I just love your comments 🙂 right to the point.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Sweetie, don’t say that loudly….People will think I’m writing the laudatory comments myself! 😉

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