India

India protests to China over envoy's court treatment

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India has lodged a high-level protest with China over the treatment of one of its envoys in a courtroom.

Delhi said S Balachandran was denied medicine and collapsed as he tried to secure the release of two Indians held hostage by locals demanding payment of money owed.

Mr Balachandran was "manhandled" by the Chinese traders in the courtroom in China's eastern city of Yiwu, consular officials said.

He fainted and was taken to hospital.

Apology

Mr Balachandran, attached to the Shanghai consulate, is a diabetic and fainted because he was unable to take his medication, officials in the Indian ministry of external affairs told the BBC.

The diplomat was taken to a local hospital in a semi-conscious state by local officials and some Indian traders based in Yiwu.

On Sunday, he was moved to a hospital in Shanghai and his condition was said to have improved.

An Indian government source told Reuters news agency: "We have taken it up pretty strongly with the Chinese, that this is no way to treat a diplomat, that he should be allowed access to medication."

The incident took place on the night on 31 December - in the presence of police and the judge - but reports have only just appeared.

Riva Ganguly Das, the Consul General in Shanghai, said Mr Balachandran was "manhandled" while trying to secure the release of Deepak Raheja and Shyamsunder Agrawal, the Press Trust of India reported.

Mr Raheja and Mr Agrawal had been held hostage by local traders for two weeks for non-payment of dues by their company, whose owner had allegedly fled the country.

The Chinese traders were demanding the Indians pay millions of yuan owed to them for commodities purchased.

Local officials later apologised to Mr Balachandran, PTI reported.

The two Indians remain under the protection of the police, it said.

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