New York: Uttar Pradesh Minister Azam Khan, who is accompanying Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for a Harvard University event in the US, was detained briefly for questioning at Boston International Airport. (JPN/Agencies)
According to sources, Khan was detained for about 10 minutes for further questioning at Boston Logan International Airport on Wednesday after he landed in a scheduled British Airways flight from India.
Hurt over the humiliation, Khan has decided to cut short his US visit in protest. The minister is learnt to have cancelled all other engagements during his stay in US. A press release was also issued late on Thursday night stating that Khan is deeply hurt by the humiliation.
Taking serious note of the questioning of the UP Minister, the Indian Embassy has raised the issue with the State Department in Washington.
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. “
The Urban Development Minister is in the US along with Yadav to attend a symposium on South Asia at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where they presented a study on the world famous ‘Kumbh Mela’ held at Allahabad.
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.
Incensed, Khan is reported to have kicked up a ruckus at 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.
Higher officials intervened and Khan was escorted out of the airport. The visiting team is due to return to New York on Friday evening after their engagements and scheduled to leave for India on Saturday on a scheduled British Airways flight.
There have been cases of Indian VIPs being detained at airports in the US on previous occasions. Last year, Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan had been detained for over two hours by immigration officials at a New York airport. Another Bollywood star Irfan Khan was also detained in March this year.
Former President APJ Abdul Kalam was twice subjected to frisking at New York's JFK Airport by US security officials who even took his jacket and shoes to check for explosives.
India's former ambassador to the US Meera Shanker was pulled from an airport security line and patted down by a security agent in Mississippi in December 2010.
New York: Uttar Pradesh Minister Azam Khan, who is accompanying Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for a Harvard University event in the US, was detained briefly for questioning at Boston International Airport.