The political class united in slamming the US authorities for frisking former President APJ Abdul Kalam at JFK airport in New York, and the Congress and the BJP demanded that the central government should take up the issue with the US to avoid such incidents.
While the Congress “condemned” the incident, the BJP said "it cannot be tolerated”.
“The way Kalam was treated was an insult to him. The government must take it up with the US,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said. “Such incidents are not happening for the first time. There are many such incidents.”
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said: “The government needs to take up the issue seriously with the US, as to why a former president of India and a scientist of international repute is being repeatedly subjected to such indignity.”
Another party leader Rashid Alvi said: “It is a very unfortunate incident. We condemn it.” Left leaders, however, gave different prescriptions on handling the issue.
While CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat called for reciprocal measures —frisking US dignitaries at Indian airports—the CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta asked for a strong protest from New Delhi.
“This is sheer arrogance of the US. The disrespect shown to a national figure of a leading country like India is totally inconsistent with elementary courtesy and decency. But it is quite consistent with the way the US government is behaving (around) the world,” said Dasgupta.
Karat recalled in Brazil he once saw Americans standing in a queue at the airport and their fingerprints were being taken. “They did it because the Americans did (the same thing) with Brazilians,” Karat said.