India has formally protested to the US over the brief detention of Uttar Pradesh Urban Development Minister Mohammad Azam Khan at Boston airport as he arrived to take part in an event at Harvard University.
Khan, who is accompanying state Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for the presentation of a Harvard study on the Kumbh Mela pilgrimage, was detained for about 10 minutes for “further questioning” at Boston‘s Logan International Airport. Once the visitors were cleared for entry by immigration, a woman officer of the US Customs and Border Protection wing of the Homeland Security took Khan to an adjacent room “for further questioning,” sources said.
Incensed, Khan is reported to have kicked up a ruckus in the immigration area saying he was detained because he was a Muslim and sought an apology from the officer who merely said she was doing her duty. As arguments became heated, officials from the Indian consulate in New York intervened and Khan was escorted out of the airport.
In Washington, Indian embassy spokesman M Sridharan 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.” At the State Department, when asked to comment on the incident, spokesman Patrick Ventrell said he was “not aware of the specifics of this case” as the Department of Homeland Security has jurisdiction over airport movements inside the US.
Indians Detained at US airports
The Azam Khan case is the latest instance of Indian VIPs being detained at US airports. Last year, Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan was detained for over two hours by immigration officials at a New York airport.
Former President A P J Abdul Kalam was twice subjected to frisking at New York’s JFK Airport by US security officials. India’s then ambassador to the US Meera Shankar was patted down by a security agent in Mississippi in December 2010.
@lindsaypereira No Bollywood film titled ‘My Name Is Azam Khan’ has been announced yet. This is deeply shocking.
@kaatilkomal Khan furious cuz he spent 10 extra minutes at immigration and blames it on him being Muslim. I'm not a Muslim but had 2nd interrogation
@rameshsrivats Azam Khan should proclaim My name is Khan. And Azam not a terrorist.
@ashokepandit Azam Khan Sahab shld know that America is not India where people like Robert Vadra are on d VIP list who can walk thru freely at airport
@MaliniP Not sure that we should fuss! Given recent Boston bombings, natural that there’s heightened security at US airports!