Bollywood star in US “racial profiling” row at airport
Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was detained by a US airport for over 90 minutes, causing a backlash in India and resulting in a diplomatic complaint against the US.
Shah Rukh Khan landed at the White Plains Airport on a private plane, due to attend Yale University to deliver a speech. Upon arrival he was escorted to the holding pen by immigration officials – action reminiscent of the 2009 event when the actor had gone through a similar ordeal at Newark airport.
The US has since issued an apology to India but the nation refused to let the incident slide, as Minister of State for External Affairs, Preneet Kaur, was quoted saying: “More than an apology will have to take place.”
More worryingly for US, their action has planted a fresh, unwanted spotlight in their security behaviour as they are constantly accused of racial profiling, especially of Muslim individuals following the 9/11 attacks. The Bollywood actor himself was the sole detainee while the other passengers including Nita Ambani, wife of a billionaire businessman, was allowed to leave.
Shah Rukh Khan himself made light of the situation as he joked with the Yale university students: “Yes, it always happens whenever I start feeling arrogant about myself, I always take a trip to America. The immigration guys kick the star out of stardom.”
Shah Rukh Khan is not the only leading Indian figure to have gone through such a frustrating situation. The country’s current UN envoy Hardeep Puri was detained for 30 minutes at Houston Airport in Texas as he refused to remove his turban for a security check.
Although the US have constantly apologised for their actions following the complaints from Indian government, the latter however seem to have grown tired of the recurring of similar incidents. External Affairs Minister SM Krishna branded the America’s apologies as “mechanical” and requested the ambassador of India to lodge a protest with Washington.