New York: UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has cancelled a reception to be hosted in his honour by the Indian Consul General in New York on Saturday, even as the Mission said it would strongly take up with the US authorities the issue of his minister Azam Khan's detention at the Boston airport.

A communiqué from the Indian Consulate in New York merely stated, "that due to unavoidable circumstances, the reception scheduled to be held in honour of Akhilesh Kumar Yadav, Hon'ble Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh on April 27 at the Consulate General of India, New York, has been cancelled".

Neither, Consul General Ambassador Dnyaneshwar Mulay, who took charge on Wednesday after his assignment as Ambassador of Maldives, nor Minister (Press and Information) M Rajaram were available for any comments to the media on the reason for cancellation of the reception.

This was to be the first official function of the Consulate after Mulay took charge. "I am meeting the Chief Minister who has come to New York on Friday night to get first hand information from him and devise a strategy," he said.

Invitation to the reception were sent out to all the prominent Indian-Americans, community leaders, elected officials, friends of India in New York and the media two days ago after the Consulate got the confirmation from the office of the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister.

Akhilesh snubs Harvard lecture

Earlier on Friday, Akhilesh had boycotted the Harvard lecture he was due to deliver in protest against his minister Azam Khan's detention at the Boston airport.

The political members of the delegation from Uttar Pradesh are not attending any of Harvard events in protest, Harvard sources said.

But, the State Chief secretary Jawed Usmani will make a presentation on behalf of the Chief Minister, they said.

The Chief Minister and Azam Khan are leaving Boston several hours before their scheduled departure, sources said.

Yadav was invited to deliver a lecture at Harvard University in Boston on Friday evening on the recently held Mahakumbh Mela at Allahabad.

Khan, a senior leader of the ruling Samajwadi Party in UP and also the state Urban Development minister who was accompanying Yadav, was detained for about 10 minutes at the Boston Logan International Airport for "further questioning" on Wednesday after he landed in a scheduled British Airways flight from India.

Indian Embassy raises issue with US

Taking serious note of the questioning of Khan, the Indian Embassy has raised the issue with the US State Department in Washington.

“The issue has been taken up with the State Department," the Indian Embassy spokesman, M Sridharan, said in response to a question if the Embassy was aware of the incident at Boston airport.

The lecture by Yadav was to focus on the challenges faced by the UP administration in organising the recent Kumbh mela in Allahabad attended by millions of people.

According to sources familiar with the incident, Khan was detained for about 10 minutes for "further questioning" after he landed in a scheduled British Airways flight from India.

The sources said that when the visiting team landed at the airport, the Immigration and Border Protection officials accorded due courtesy and respect at the arrival point and even helped them in filling the arrival forms for entry into the US.

They were received and escorted by the officials of the Consulate General of India in New York and after they were cleared for entry, a woman officer of the US Customs and Border Protection wing of the Homeland Security took Khan to an adjacent room "for further questioning."

The extended interview lasted for ten minutes and the Minister was then cleared. Meanwhile, the Harvard South Asia Institute in a post on its website said, "Due to unforeseen circumstances, today's 'Harvard without Borders: Mapping the Kumbh Mela' panel speaker will be Shri Jawed Usmani (Chief Secretary, Uttar Pradesh Government) in place of Shri Akhilesh Yadav (Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh) and Shri Mohammed Azam Khan (Minister of Urban Development, Uttar Pradesh)."

"Shri Usmani will be joined by Prof Diana Eck, Prof Gregg Greenough and Prof Rahul Mehrotra. Prof Tarun Khanna will serve as moderator," it said.

(JPN/Agencies)

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