The US has apologised to former President A P J Abdul Kalam for subjecting him to frisking at New York’s JFK Airport, an incident that provoked sharp reactions from India which threatened retaliatory action.
US in a written apology to Kalam and the Indian government has regretted that appropriate procedure for expedited screening of dignitaries had not been followed.
Though the US has expressed deep regret over the inconvenience caused to Former Indian President APJ Kalam as a result of the September 29 incident during the screening at JFK Airport in New York and has the utmost respect for him, India must record its anger at the hurting of sentiment of the whole nation due to the security screening of its dignitary.
The US must work actively to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future. Otherwise, it must be prepared to face the suitable retaliatory measures. Both the countries are the champions of democracy. Both must pay the utmost respect to the dignitaries of each other.
Taking serious note of the incident, India has rightly threatened retaliatory action with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna directing Indian Ambassador to US Nirupama Rao to take up the matter in writing at the “highest level” with Washington.
80-year-old Kalam was frisked in New York on September 29 before boarding an Air India flight.
According to reports Kalam had taken his seat in the aircraft, the US security personnel forced the crew to open the door and took away the jacket and boots of the former president to check for explosives since they had forgotten to do so before his boarding. The items were later returned to Kalam.
It is not the first time that American security personnel have treated the Indian dignitaries at the US airport in a humiliating way. Former President ABJ Abdul Kalam was frisked twice at JFK airport by taking his shoes and jacket away in the name of screening despite the crew members told them that he is the former president of India. This humiliating act took place in September 29.
Before this humiliating incident, former Union Minister George Fernandes was also reportedly subjected to security search in a very humiliating way. This indecent act took place with him when he was Union Minister in National Democratic Alliance Government of Atal Behari Vajpayee. Bollywood super star Shahrukh Khan was also detained for three hours at US airport for frisking. All these personalities are not common Indians. They are persons of high regards for Indian people. Though US has tendered its apology for the inconvenience caused to Indian former President, here the question arises why the US security personnel act in a such humiliating manner with Indian dignitaries. The sentiment of the entire nation has been deeply hurt.
Once a former Indian ambassador to US was also reportedly treated in a haphazard manner because she had worn saree. Are the US security staff deputed at the airports to frisk passengers not provided with the information about their position and place so that they could differentiate and decide how to treat them with dignity?
The Government of India must lodge strong protest with the US Administration about the high-handedness of their security staff with Indian dignitaries and celebrities. It may be their rules and regulations to frisk passengers at airports but once it is known that such and such passengers are Indian dignitaries and celebrities, why do they behave in such an indecent way?
Though it is not only Indian dignitaries who are put to such humiliating process at the time of frisking air passengers at US airports, they do behave in the same way with the dignitaries of other Asian nations also. US has the habit of imposing its superiority on others to show that they are a class apart. They treat the developing and under developed countries indecently. Have the security personnel at US airport ever put the dignitaries of western countries to undergo frisking in the same way as they do with Indians and other Asians? If the former US President and other dignitaries were put to frisking at Indian airport in the same humiliating way as they did with Indians, what would be its reaction. Have they ever imagined this type of scenario? US must realise that the permanent relationship depends on mutual respect and trust.