He was detained after his name flashed on a computer and was asked several questions about the purpose of his visit. Khan's hand baggage was checked. The authorities did not even allow him to make a phone call for nearly an hour. Reacting to the incident, Khan said, "I told them I was a movie star and had recently visited the country for the shooting of my film. Nothing seemed to convince the immigration officer. There were other immigration officers, who even vouched for me but this particular officer, did not listen to anyone. I even told them I had an invitation from the South Asian community and was there to attend an event."
Meanwhile in New Delhi, there were strong reactions to Khan being detained by the American authorities. Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, said, "I don't think frisking is conducted with a religious bias in mind, but in the US, there have been many such cases when authorities go overboard. Soni demanded that American citizens should also be frisked in the same manner that Indians are frisked.
India's former ambassador to the United States Naresh Chandra said that Khan's detention clearly exhibited the "ham-handed" approach of American security agencies. He told ANI over phone that a formal complaint about this harassment should be reported to the US State Department. Reacting to the incident, Ambassador Chandra said: " The authorities should have taken maximum 10 -15 minutes for questioning Shahrukh, but it took two hours. It is great incompetence and has lowered the image of (US) Homeland Security".
Sources said that Khan was indeed detained at the US airport and questioned for two hours. They said he was released only after Indian Officials intervened. They added that the Consulate General of New York was in touch with shahrukh khan. According to sources, the Indian consulate could register a formal complaint against the security agencies involved in this "embarrassing" incident. Some experts said that a formal complaint should be sent to the US envoy in Delhi.
Chandra, however, said that making it a big diplomatic issue would be counterproductive because the incident had nothing to do with US policy, but was the handiwork of lowly officers deployed at the airport. U.S. Ambassador to India, Timothy J. Roemer, on Saturday said that he was looking into reasons for the detention of Bollywood superstar shahrukh khan at Newark International Airport.
“We are trying to ascertain the facts of the case -- to understand what took place," said the Ambassador. "shahrukh khan, the actor and global icon, is a very welcome guest in the United States. Many Americans love his films," Ambassador Roemer added. The incident, ironically, comes at a time when Khan is preparing for Karan Johar's new film 'My Name Is Khan', in the United States, a film touching upon the minority being targeted for no fault of theirs only because of suspicion.
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