The Shiv Sena on Tuesday came out in support of Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan who was last week detained at Boston airport while on his way to deliver a lecture at Harvard University.
Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said the US must clarify whether the treatment meted out to Azam Khan was because of his surname or because he was an Indian.
In a sharp editorial in the party mouthpiece Dopaharka Saamna on Tuesday, Thackeray said that Azam Khan was virtually placed under arrest and treated as if he was a terrorist carrying 50 kg of RDX with plans to blow up White House.
"In the past, India's former home minister LK Advani and former defence minister George Fernandes, besides Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan and commoners have undergone such humiliation at the hands of US agencies which continue to insult India in the name of its internal security," Thackeray said.
Wondering what would be the reaction if similar treatment were meted out to the US or European officials visiting India, Thackeray demanded that the US treat Indians with dignity and respect they deserve.
Thackeray pointed out that Azam Khan was invited to Boston to deliver a lecture on how he successfully conducted the Maha Kumbh Mela in Uttar Pradesh.
Barring the single incident of stampede, the Kumbh Mela – considered one of the largest religious congregations on earth – passed off peacefully with Azam Khan as the chief of the organising committee.