Tamil music composer Santhosh Narayanan has said he was treated unfairly by airport officials at Sydney, alleging ‘racism’ behind the behaviour of the officers in question. Besides screening him for a ‘chemical substance’, Santhosh said he was also insulted by a ‘rude officer’ at the airport.
“I was “randomly” picked up for the 8th time in a row at the Sydney airport for a chemical substance test and a rude officer insulted my intelligence. Racial profiling needs to stop. @SydneyAirport,” he rued in a tweet.
The official Twitter handle of Sydney Airport, wrote back to him explaining the method of selecting the passengers from the airport for security screenings by the standards set by the Australian government.
I was “randomly” picked up for the 8th time in a row at the Sydney airport for a chemical substance test and a rude officer insulted my intelligence. Racial profiling needs to stop. @SydneyAirport
— Santhosh Narayanan (@Music_Santhosh) November 16, 2017
“Hi Santhosh, thanks for reaching out to us, our aim is to provide all passengers with a positive experience. Screening standards are set by the Government. Screening officers are required to select people on a random and continuous basis for screening with the explosive trace detection (ETD) method. This means that as soon as the last person is cleared, the screening officer selects the next person going through security. Under this arrangement, persons passing through the screening point have an equal probability of being selected. We hope this explains the method of screening. Sydney Airport (sic),” the airport’s Twitter channel said in a series of tweets.
Even going by the methods followed by the Sydney Airport, picking Santhosh Narayanan for security checks eight times in a row seems an unlikely series of unfortunate events. Well, there has to be some kind of explanation as to how Santhosh gets picked ‘randomly’ every time he arrives at the Sydney airport. Either the method followed by the airport officials is gravely flawed or Santhosh is right in thinking it was nothing more than ‘racial profiling.’
Santhosh is not the first high-profile Indian to be subjected to such treatment at international airports in the name national security. Actors Kamal Haasan and Shah Rukh Khan were also detained at the airport for ‘security reasons’ during their international trips. Even late President of India Abdul Kalam was once frisked at the New York airport.