Indian Celebrities Strip Searched at US Airports: Fault, They Have Islamic Names

Too Insulting for Indians to Tolerate – It’s Time to Treat Americans in The Same Way

India’s King Khan, an international famed actor, was detained at New York airport and questioned for two hours, obviously because he carried the surname ‘Khan’. He was released only after intervention by Indian Embassy officials. If this could happen to a celebrity as big as SRK, then what would happen to ordinary citizens travelling to the US with Islamic surnames. This is too much and we must call a halt to such atrocities. Govt of India should take up the issue at the highest level to see that such insults are not heaped on other celebrities intending to travel to the US in future.

If US airport authorities continue to show the same kind of discourtesy as they did to our own ex-President Kalam by Continental Airlines at Delhi airport, then it is time to pay them back in the same coin. In the words of Ambika Soni, reacting to the detention of SRK in New York, said that India would do the same with visiting Americans.

These security officials at these airports in US seem to be hypersensitive to Islamic names.

This is not the first time an Indian celebrity was the victim of racial profiling in US or elsewhere in the world. Here’s a list of those who have gone through similar ordeal.

2002: Kamal Hassan was detained at the Toronto airport in Canada for his “Islamic” last name by airport officials.

2002: Megastar Aamir Khan was strip searched and interrogated at the Chicago airport.

2008: Film director Kabir Khan was also detained at least three times last year when he was shooting in the United States for his film New York.

2008: Actor Neil Nitin Mukesh was also questioned because the officials thought that he wasn’t Indian.

2009: Southern superstar Mammooty was detained because his name on the passport was Muhammad Kutty Ismail.

SRK was apparently upset at the disgusting behaviour despite the actor telling the officers that he was a celebrity actor and that he was also recognized by fellow officers. The over enthusiastic officers, never let this opportunity slip to hog the lime light to prove that they spare none in the matter of security check up. For SRK and his fans, this is an insult hard to be digested. Though the actor was gracious enough not to relate it to racial bias.

“This is not the first time this happened to me. I am glad my family was not travelling with me,” SRK said after his release. Now it is time for Indians to retaliate with similar treatment to all Americans visiting India more particularly the celebrities including ex-Presidents of US. I may sound harsh, but then to make them realise their folly, we must show them the same kind of treatment.

US need not be lenient so far as security check up at the airports, as they are more vulnerable for terrorists attack than anyone else in the world. But then, when some one like SRK says that he was a celebrity, courtesy demands that the security officials immediately contact the Embassy and cross check the facts. This would satisfy them and also the celebrity of the embarrassment caused due to such strip search and questioning for hours as if he was a terrorist.

The Indian goverment is requested to talk to the US officials to avoid such embarrassment in future to avoid any backlash back in India against the US and its citizens. Jai Hind.

A.M. Jamsheed Basha
A.M. Jamsheed Basha is a Chennai-based columnist, political commentator, who writes on matters of importance, political, social and self-improvement.