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India complains to China over envoy treatment

CNN-IBN
Jan 02, 2012 at 09:25pm IST

New Delhi: Foreign Minister SM Krishna on Monday said that he has Instructed Indian mission in Beijing to take up diplomat attack issue with Chinese authorities.

"No harm should be done to Indian officials. They cannot take law into their own hands," he said.

In an ugly incident, an Indian diplomat based in Shanghai was "manhandled" in a court while two others compatriots were tortured and detained, prompting India to lodge a strong protest with the Chinese government.

India complains to China over envoy treatment

SM Krishna said that he has Instructed Indian mission to take up diplomat attack issue with Chinese authorities.

46-year-old S Balachandran was in the court in connection with the hearing of a case related to the detention of two Indians by locals in the eastern business hub of Yiwu for alleged non-payment of dues by their company, whose owner had allegedly fled the country.

The situation turned ugly when Balachandran, Consul of the Indian Consulate in Shanghai, was leaving the court after prolonged negotiations on the night of December 31 with regard to the release of Deepak Raheja and Shyamsunder Agrawal.

The diplomat, a diabetic, fainted after being "manhandled" and had to be rushed to a hospital in Shanghai. The incident led to strong protest from India.

A 'note verbale' (protest note) was handed over to the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday by Indian Embassy officials calling for action on both the issues, sources at the Embassy said.

The issue of "manhandling" figured in the note, which also mentioned "torture and detention" of the two Indians by local traders, they said.

The note requested the Chinese government to take "follow up action" with the local officials of Yiwu, a trade hub near Shanghai.

In New Delhi, Zhang Yue, Deputy Chief of Chinese Embassy, was summoned by the External Affairs Ministry and told that this was not the way to treat a diplomat.

Sources said Zhang was told that since Balachandran was a diabetic, he required regular intake of food and should have been allowed access to it.

"This seems to be a civic-commercial dispute. We would do our best to handle this properly," Zhang said emerging from the External Affairs Ministry.

"I just listened to the officials from the MEA about what has happened. We are trying to find out what had happened actually," he said.

Balachandran was assaulted when the two Indians clung on to him to leave the surcharged place. The incident took place in the court and in the presence of police and the judge.

A high drama ensued as the crowd prevented the two from going along with him demanding that they pay millions of Yuan owed to them for commodities purchased from them.

They later pounced on them and snatched the two from Balachandran, who in the process suffered injuries especially to his knee.

Balachandran was rushed to the local hospital in an ambulance in a semi-conscious state by local officials and some Indian traders based in Yiwu.

The Indians hailing from Mumbai were held as captive after the owner of the company - Euro Global Trading - Feroze Khan, whose nationality was yet to be ascertained, fled without paying the dues to local suppliers.

The dues reportedly runs into several million Yuan.

The family members of the two Indians alleged that they were tortured and ill-treated by the traders.

After representations from their family members, Balachandran went to Yiwu on Dec 31 to get their release.

After five long hours of proceedings at a local court the Chinese suppliers asserted that they will be released only if their dues were paid even though the court said they could go, according to Indian officials, as well as Indian traders who were currently based in Yiwu.

Riva Ganguly Das, the Consul General of the Shanghai Consulate of India told PTI that Balachandran was "manhandled".

Because he was diabetes problem he fainted as he had no access to water, she said.

The Indian diplomat is being treated for a knee injury among others. Das said his condition was stable and he was undergoing various medical tests. Local officials reportedly apologised to Balachandran for the incident.

Over 100 Indian traders reside in Yiwu which is the centre of commodities trading. Last year Indian merchants bought over USD 15 billion worth of goods from the market.

Indians say such incidents are common in Yiwu as local suppliers target the traders whenever payments are not made in time.

(With additional inputs from PTI)

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