Published On: Fri, Apr 13th, 2012

US apologises for stopping Sharukh at airport


NEW DELHI: The United States on Friday apologised to Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan for “an inconvenience” experienced by him at the White Plains airport in New York while on a visit.

Khan was in the US on the invitation of Yale University, which honoured him. But before reaching Yale, Khan was detained for one-and-half hours at White Plains for secondary security checks by the US Customs and Border Patrol agency.

The US Embassy in New Delhi issued a statement on Friday evening apologising for the incident.

“Please allow me on behalf of our diplomatic mission in India to apologize if Mr. Shah Rukh Khan experienced an inconvenience or delay yesterday in White Plains, New York, on his way to Yale University,” the US embassy spokesperson, Peter Vrooman, told reporters in New Delhi.

The US immigration authorities apologised for the incident, but that did not seem to pacify New Delhi that reacted sharply, telling Washington this “habit of detention and then apology” won’t do.

India on Friday also summoned the US Deputy Chief of Mission in Shah Rukh Khan detention case
The immigration authorities allowed him to go only after his hosts intervened and took up the issue with the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, said sources.

Sensing public outrage in India, the US customs and border protection authorities later expressed “profound” apologies over Khan’s detention. Khan’s name was “flagged” in the system and airport people needed approval of senior authorities to clear him, it clarified.

India was upset, specially as this was the second time Khan was being detained at a US airport in the last three years, and told the US off, telling that it must this pattern of detention and apology. In August 2009 also, Khan was stopped at the Newark Airport and was released after two hours at the intervention of the Indian consulate in New York.

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna, who is in Moscow to attend a trilateral meeting of India, Russia and China, asked India’s ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao to take up the issue with US authorities. “This has become a habit of detention and then apology, this cannot continue. We need an assurance that this won’t happen again,” he said Friday. 

The immigration authorities allowed him to go only after his hosts intervened and took up the issue with the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, said sources.

Sensing public outrage in India, the US customs and border protection authorities later expressed “profound” apologies over Khan’s detention. Khan’s name was “flagged” in the system and airport people needed approval of senior authorities to clear him, it clarified.

India was upset, specially as this was the second time Khan was being detained at a US airport in the last three years, and told the US off, telling that it must this pattern of detention and apology. In August 2009 also, Khan was stopped at the Newark Airport and was released after two hours at the intervention of the Indian consulate in New York.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, who is in Moscow to attend a trilateral meeting of India, Russia and China, asked India’s ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao to take up the issue with US authorities. “This has become a habit of detention and then apology, this cannot continue. We need an assurance that this won’t happen again,” he said Friday. 

Unfazed by his detention at a New York airport by US immigration authorities for a couple of hours, Shah Rukh Khan, joked about the incident later at Yale University, where he was honoured as a Chubb Fellow.

Khan was detained at New York’s White Plains airport, about 35 miles from New York, when he arrived on Thursday on a private plane along with Nita Ambani, wife of Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani.

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