Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was detained at a US airport for two hours reportedly because the American immigration officials spotted the ‘Khan’ in his name.
He, however, is not the only Asian Muslim to go through such a humiliation. Earlier this year, actor Irrfan Khan was detained at the Los Angeles airport for questioning by the US immigration officers.
Worse happened when former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam got frisked by Contin-ental Airlines, a US airline, in July. He was flying from New Delhi to Newark when he was reportedly asked to remove his shoes while waiting on the aerobridge. The government issued a show-cause notice to Continental Airlines for willful violation of the law.
For most people an Indian celebrity being given such a treatment is an affront. Lawyer Sajad Sultan, 26, is furious. “They cannot do religious profiling anywhere. When Shah Rukh Khan can be detained, what do you think they would do to commoners like us?” he asked.
Adds IT consultant Chandrashekhar, “It’s ridiculous. More than anywhere else, Shah Rukh Khan is well known in the US. I think, under the pretext of security, the US authorities have been misbehaving with Indians, which is unreasonable.”
Bollywood speaks up
Meanwhile, Bollywood is outraged. Ever since the episode came to light, reactions have been pouring in.
Actor Irrfan Khan recalling his own ordeal said, “I was stopped at immigration thrice, twice in LA and once in New York. It’s humiliating when a cop asks for your passport, then escorts you to a room where you are made to sit for hours with other detainees… Mine was a case of mistaken identity but it still made me feel vulnerable. The third time it happened, I lost my cool.”
“It’s extremely sad that a superstar of our nation who is so loved in America is detained. It’s actually lunacy! How can anyone detain SRK?” said actress Minissha Lamba.
Another close confidante of the Bollywood megastar, Karan Johar is up and about on Twitter. “Shocked and upset... Feeling terrible for Shah Rukh,” tweets Johar.
But fellow star Salman Khan, who is not on good terms with Shah Rukh Khan anymore, said “It is not such a big deal, when we go there we, too, have to go through the security check… I think it is a good thing (the security),” the 43-year-old actor said.
With inputs from Himadree, Rachana Dubey and Agencies