Outrage in India after Shah Rukh Khan Detention at U.S Airport

Protest in India against detention of Shahrukh khan at US airportAngry fans burnt a U.S. flag in protest on Sunday, a Cabinet minister suggested searching visiting Americans and an actress tweeted her outrage after Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan said he was detained for questioning at a U.S. airport.

Though U.S. immigration officials denied he was formally held, fellow Indian film stars and political leaders condemned what they called “humiliating” treatment given to Khan, a Muslim who is well-loved in a largely Hindu country. One Cabinet minister suggested a “tit-for-tat” policy toward Americans traveling to India.

Angry fans in the northern city of Allahabad shouted anti-U.S. slogans and burnt an American flag. Khan said he was detained Friday by U.S. immigration officials at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey because his name came up on a computer alert list. The actor is in the U.S. to promote a new film, “My Name is Khan,” which is about racial profiling of Muslims after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The story was front-page news in India, where the ability to avoid being frisked at airports is seen as a status symbol. Politicians, sports celebrities and film stars often claim VIP status to avoid security checks.

“My name is Khan? Too bad. SRK (Shah Rukh Khan) feels the heat of American paranoia,” said The Times of India, quoting Khan as saying he felt “angry and humiliated.”

Khan later downplayed the incident. “I think it’s a procedure that needs to be followed, but an unfortunate procedure,” he told reporters Saturday in suburban Chicago. U.S. customs officials told The Associated Press that Khan was questioned as part of a routine process that took 66 minutes. Spokesman Elmer Camacho said Khan was not detained, “but it took a little longer because his bag was lost by the airline.”

“Shocking, disturbing and downright disgraceful. It’s such behavior that fuels hatred and racism. SRK’s a world figure for God’s sake. Get real!” actress Priyanka Chopra said on her Twitter feed.

The federal information minister, Ambika Soni, angrily suggested that India adopt a similar policy toward Americans traveling to India. In the Indian capital, New Delhi, a small group of photo-waving fans shouted slogans in support of Khan. The U.S. ambassador, Timothy J. Roemer, on Saturday said the U.S. Embassy was trying to “ascertain the facts of the case – to understand what took place.”

Source: Yahoo Canada


12 thoughts on “Outrage in India after Shah Rukh Khan Detention at U.S Airport”

  1. @Hina: Frankly, I’d never heard of the young Mr. Khan before, but I don’t pay much attention to movie stars and such stuff anymore. There are no celebrities in my mind, only people doing jobs, well or badly. Only a WAX statue? 🙂 Bronze is the real honor; bury a bronze in the ground and come back in 100,000 years and it will be just like it was, except green.

    Wax is the intermediate step between clay and bronze. Do they think enough of him to pay another $20,000 for the bronze casting? (That’s what I pay here in the US to bronze-cast a life-sized figure; certainly cheaper in India, but still a serious expense.)

    Mr. Khan does have a better face than Tom Cruise–more serious–I’ve always thought Mr. Cruise was rather boyish-looking. Looks, so important in the movies, don’t really say much about the person inside, but if Mr. Khan were to take on a truly profound message, I bet he could do it right well. But you never know how much control an actor or any other kind of professional artist has over the role he has to play, and he might not have had a choice, backing money being what it is.

    To all: We look different, we talk different, we eye each other with suspicion–even our own neighbors who look enough like us to be clones–, until we get to know each other well enough to relax in each other’s company. We are all tribal, too; some say any human’s tribe consists of only 100 to 150 people–the names in your address book–and they are the only ones we will exert outselves to help in need, the rest of the world can go jump.
    So if someone throws a rock and breaks your window, you’re going to keep a sharp eye on him in future, aren’t you? We can all figure out what would make it all better, can’t we?

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