SRK frisked at US airport again

SRK frisked at US airport again

India annoyed with inadequate, mechanical apology

India on Friday angrily reacted to detention and frisking of actor Sha­hrukh Khan by US Cust­oms and Border Protection officials at an airport in New York and virtually rejected the American Government’s apology. 

Shahrukh’s detention at the White Plains airport in New York for about a couple of hours triggered a diplomatic spat between New Delhi and Washington with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna asking India’s envoy to US Nirupama Rao to take up the issue with the highest authorities in that country. India also issued a demarche to the US, conveying its displeasure over recurrence of such incidents.

Donald Lu, Deputy Chief of American Embassy in New Delhi, was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs in South Block, where top officials lodged a strong protest on behalf of the Government on detention of Shahrukh by the US Customs and Border Protection personnel after he landed in New York to attend an event at Yale University.

New Delhi is understood to have conveyed to Washington that a “mechanical apology” from the US was not ‘adequate’.

Shahrukh, who travelled to New York in a private jet with Nita and Mukesh Ambani on Thursday, was given immigration clearance only after intervention by the Consulate General of India in New York. The US Customs and Border Protection Officials however later wrote to the actor and offered “profound apology”.

However, Krishna, who is now in Moscow, said that the US could not continue with its “habit of detention and apology”. He is understood to have asked Rao to take up the issue with the ‘highest authorities’ in the US.

Sources in the Ministry of External Affairs said that New Delhi would convey its displeasure to Washington over “repeated problem for same person followed by immigration clearance after intervention by consulates”.

Shahrukh had earlier been detained by the US immigration officials at Newark Airport in New Jersey in 2009.

According to sources, US Customs and Border Protection on Thursday wrote to Shahrukh that his name was “flagged” in the immigration system and officials needed approval of higher authorities to clear him. Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said that New Delhi would expect more than an apology from Washington.

The US Embassy in New Delhi too apologised for the inconveniences Shahrukh might have experienced at White Plains Airport in New York, when he was on his way to Yale University to speak as a Chubb Fellow. 
 
Peter Vrooman, spokesman of the American Embassy in New Delhi, said that US Department of Homeland Security had put in place systems that could help “address circumstances” experienced by Shahrukh or might have been faced by any other traveller.

“If you or anyone you know have been selected for secondary screening on multiple occasions you can use the Department of Homeland Security Traveller Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP) to resolve issues such as misidentification. The DHS TRIP is a single point of contact for individuals who have inquiries or seek resolution regarding difficulties they experienced during their travel screening at transportation hubs,” said Vrooman.

“People who have experienced difficulties upon entry into or exit from the US at a port of entry or border crossing can file an inquiry to seek redress,” he added.

The US had also apologised to former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam in November 2011 after US Customs and Border Protection officials subjected him to frisking at New York’s JFK Airport after New Delhi lodged a strong protest with Washington.


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