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India to take up Shah Rukh’s detention,US denies allegations

India will 'strongly' take up with the US the issue of detention of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan at an American airport,Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said.

Written by Agencies | New York |
August 17, 2009 8:46:03 am

India will “strongly” take up with the US the issue of detention of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan at an American airport,Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said on Sunday,asserting that such incidents were unacceptable.

“We will take up the issue with the United States government strongly. Such incidents involving Indians due to their religion or nationality should not happen… we will not accept it,” Patel told reporters here.

Khan was detained for two hours at Newark airport by immigration officials after his name matched with some names on a common checklist. He was released following the intervention of Indian Consulate officials.

The actor,however,has sought to downplay the “unfortunate procedure” saying that would not demand an apology even as US authorities denied that he was singled out because of his name or Asian identity. “I think it is a procedure that needs to be followed. But it is an unfortunate procedure,” a visibly calm Khan said on the sidelines of a function here.

Khan was in the US to take part in the South Asian Carnival on the occasion of India’s Independence Day.

Asked whether he would seek an apology for the incident,Khan,who was here to take part in the South Asian Carnival on the occasion of India’s Independence Day,replied in the negative.

Soon after the incident,the actor had termed the incident as “uncalled for”,saying that “I did feel bad. I felt angry. I am glad my family wasn’t there. God knows what they would have done to them.”

“I was really hassled at the American Airport because of my name being Khan…It is a Muslim name and I think the name is common on their checklist,” said Khan.

Meanwhile,US Customs and Border Protection spokesman Elmer Camacho denied that Khan was detained and questioned for two hours at the Newark airport or that the actor was singled out because of his name or Asian identity.

The allegations “happen to be incorrect,” he said,adding Khan was inspected because his baggage had not arrived.

Part of the inspection process is to examine the baggage. However,his bags were not available due to the airline not loading them on the flight he arrived on,the spokesman said. “That is why his inspection took longer; the airline could not provide his bags for inspection. His documents and papers were checked,which were found to be in correct order,” Camacho said.

After a “normal” check at the airport,Khan was taken to a different room where he was waiting for his turn since many other people were already there. “The entire process ended in a little over one hour,” the spokesman said.

The procedure,he said,was handled in a “professional manner” and there was no evidence of Khan being pointed out because of his name or Asian identity.


SRK gets US media attention

WASHINGTON: At a time when the Obama Administration is attempting to develop a new relationship with the Islamic world,Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s statement that he was grilled at a US airport because of his Muslim name has gained prominent space in the American media. The Washington Post headline said ‘Indian Star Questioned at Airport,Rising Ire’. News channels aired non-stop coverage of Khan’s troubles,along with reactions from Bollywood A-listers,civil rights officials and security experts.A blog on The New York Times’ website read:. “Even if US officials were simply following procedures when they held Shah Rukh Khan,an Indian actor… they are certainly guilty of bad timing.”


Harbhajan says no big deal

KOLKATA: Cricketer Harbhajan Singh described the incident as a “routine affair” and said he cannot understand the fuss about Khan’s grilling,even though “Shah Rukh deserved respect as a public figure”. Singh said he had gone through numerous checking and screening procedures but he “never found anything wrong with it”. PTI

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