Investigations of police against a Saudi diplomat for allegedly raping and illegally confining his two Nepali maids at his rented apartment in Gurgaon has put India in a diplomatic tussle with Saudi Arabia which claims the Gurgaon police has acted in violation of the Vienna Convention.
Indian Express reported the diplomat, who is of the rank of First Secretary in the Embassy of Saudi Arabia, met Joint Secretary Thanglura Darlong in the MEA and protested against the “police intrusion.
"The diplomat protested over the 'intrusion' by Haryana police into his house which he maintained was in violation of ‘all diplomatic conventions'," sources said.
However, the JS conveyed to him that police was not aware that it was a house of a diplomat and they were acting only on the reports that two Nepalese women have been kept there against their will and being ill-treated.
Two veiled Nepali women, who told police they were raped by a Saudi official, sit in a vehicle outside Nepal's embassy in New Delhi, India, September 9, 2015. Source: Reuters Photo
Saudi embassy has dismissed the charges saying they are "completely false" and "contrary to facts in our possession."
"The embassy strongly stresses that these allegations are false and have not been proven," a statement from the embassy said. It also said the embassy has also brought to the notice of the concerned officials in the MEA the "unwarranted media briefings before investigations are complete, and has protested the police intrusion into a diplomat’s house against all diplomatic conventions.”
A diplomat at the Saudi Arabia embassy in New Delhi was booked for gang rape and wrongful confinement of two Nepalese women — aged 44 and 20 — after they were rescued from his rented residence in Gurgaon on Monday night, police said.
Gurgaon police said the two women, who had fled their country after the devastating earthquake in April, were rescued from the diplomat’s apartment in Caitriona Towers, Ambience Lagoon, on Monday after the police received a letter from the Nepal embassy regarding their plight.
The women, who were hired as domestic help, were allegedly kept as “hostages for more than a month”. Their medical examination has confirmed rape and sexual assault.
The victims have alleged that they were first taken to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia where they were made to perform household chores and were raped there, police officials said.They were taken to the Gurgaon flat where even guests of the family also raped them, he said, adding the flat had been taken on rent by the Saudi embassy based in Delhi.
Police also said the diplomat's wife and his daughter have also been booked for torturing the domestic helps.
"Last four months were a curse for us. It was so ugly… we thought we were going to die in that house and our families would never even find our bodies," the 20-year-old woman from Nepal, who had been sexually abused for months told the Indian Express.
"There were days when seven to eight men — all from Saudi Arabia — would assault us. If we resisted, the diplomat and his family would threaten to kill us and dispose of our bodies in the sewer," said the older woman.
The diplomat has been booked under sections 376 D (gangrape), 376 (rape), 377 (unnatural offence), 342 (wrongful confinement), 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 323 (causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Saudi Ambassador Saud Mohammed Alsati told The Indian Express, "This is completely false. We would not like to comment any further since the case is under investigation by the Indian police."
Gurgaon police also wrote a letter to Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday, 8 September, seeking permission for further investigation into the diplomat’s involvement in the rape case.
Article 30 of the Vienna Convention states that "the private residence of a diplomatic agent shall enjoy the same inviolability and protection as the premises of the mission."
(With inputs from PTI)