Saudi Arabian diplomat charged with gangrape
The Saudi Arabian diplomat was charged with gangrape, wrongful confinement, causing harm and criminal intimidation, after the two recently rescued abused women registered a case. The diplomat remains under diplomatic immunity as of now, as the Saudi Embassy continues to deny all allegations. The Ministry of External Affairs, after receiving a "detailed" report from police, has asked for Saudi Arabia's cooperation in the investigation.
Two Nepali women who were allegedly sold by traffickers to a Saudi diplomat, faced four months of sexual abuse until they were rescued on 7 September by Gurgaon police. The condition of these women were reported to NGO Maiti Nepal, by another woman who was supposedly sold to the diplomat and managed to escape. An FIR was filed by the police following the rescue.
The Saudi Embassy issued a statement denying all allegations, and further protested police intrusion into the diplomat's house "against all diplomatic conventions". After a second medical examination which confirmed rape and sodomy, a detailed report was sent to the Ministry of External Affairs by Gurgaon Police. A group of women's rights activists staged a protest outside the Saudi Embassy demanding action against the accused.
Under article 29 of the Vienna Convention, a diplomat serving in a foreign country enjoys complete immunity against detention or arrest, unless the home country of the diplomat waives the "diplomatic immunity".
While the Saudi Embassy denied allegations, the Nepal Embassy approached the Ministry of External Affairs "seeking cooperation and assistance". Nepal Ambassador to India, Deep Kumar Upadhyay said that Nepal would reach out to Saudi Arabia if necessary and also said, "The relationship between Saudi Arabia and Nepal is very friendly..." India now faces a diplomatic challenge of maintaining bilateral relations with both countries.
Modi government's relationship with Nepal is a very amiable one, with Nepal almost getting "national treatment" from India. Be it extensive rescue operations during natural disasters (like the earthquake in April 2015), or constitution writing, India has always assisted Nepal. While the government's relation with Nepal will ensure that the victims get justice, India would not want to upset its strategic partner Saudi Arabia.
India's largest supplier of crude oil is Saudi Arabia. Indians form the largest expatriate community in Saudi Arabia where 2.4 million Indians earn livelihoods. Approximately, 130,000 Indians travel to Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia during Haj every year. Saudi's help was pivotal in the evacuation of 6,000 Indians from Yemen in April 2015 and it may prove crucial in resisting ISIS in future.
Saudi Arabia's crude oil supplies fulfill one fifth of India's crude oil needs; bilateral trade between the two nations has increased by three fold over the last five years and the total bilateral trade amounts to $50 billion.