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Miffed Akhilesh Yadav, Azam skip Harvard lecture

New York, April 26, 2013, (PTI) : 13:01 IST
 Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is garlanded at the inauguration of PMK's Vanniyar Youth Cultural festival in Chennai on Monday. PTI Photo
Miffed over the brief detention of his Urban Development Minister Azam Khan at Boston airport, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav skipped a Harvard University event they had come to participate in.

Instead, UP Chief Secretary Jawed Usmani took the duo's place in a panel discussion on "Harvard without Borders: Mapping the Kumbh Mela" - a Harvard study of the pilgrimage at an annual symposium on South Asia hosted by the university's South Asia Institute (SAI).

An announcement posted on the SAI website Friday said "Due to unforeseen circumstances, today's panel speaker will be Shri Jawed Usmani (Chief Secretary, Uttar Pradesh Government-India)" in place of Yadav and Khan.

It made no reference to the incident at Boston's Logan International Airport Wednesday that led India to formally lodge a protest with the US Thursday.

Khan was detained for about 10 minutes for "further questioning" on arrival Wednesday. At which he is reported to have kicked up a ruckus saying he was detained because he was a Muslim.

As arguments became heated, officials from the Indian consulate in New York intervened and Khan was escorted out of the airport. At the State Department, asked about the Indian protest over the incident, spokesman Patrick Ventrell said he was "not sure about the Indian communication directly here with the State Department, but what I said yesterday stands."

"We very much have a strong bilateral relationship with Indian Government officials and refer you to Department of Homeland Security on airport operations," he said. Indian embassy spokesman M. Sridharan had Thursday said the mission has "taken up the issue with the State Department officially and we have conveyed our serious concern."

"We have asked them to intervene and take appropriate measures to avoid recurrence in the future," he added.

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