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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Did Indians over-react to Shah Rukh being detained?

Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan was en-route to Chicago for a parade to mark Independence Day, when he was detained and questioned at Newark airport.
After a couple of hours’ interrogation, the 43-year-old actor was allowed to make a call, getting in touch with the Indian consulate, who vouched for him and secured his release.
The incident sparked uproar among Khan’s fans in India, who vented their anger over the Internet and in protest marches.
This is not the first time an Indian celebrity has had trouble with U.S. immigration officials and security checks. Last month, U.S-based carrier Continental Airlines apologised to former Indian president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for frisking him at New Delhi airport.
On Saturday, Information Minister Ambika Soni said while she could not say if Khan had been detained “on religious grounds, there have been too many instances like these in the U.S. concerning Indians”. A Times of India report on Sunday said U.S. officials feel some Indian visitors are “needlessly huffy about routine security procedures and there is a broad cultural mismatch”.
Are Indians over-reacting? Or is the U.S. taking things a bit too far? Khan is a celebrity, but what about ordinary Indians, who travel to the U.S. — do they face racial profiling?

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