SRK detained: 10 Indian personalities who were detained/frisked at airports

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was detained at the Los Angeles airport by the US immigration department on Thursday. But he managed to see the humorous side to the sticky situation and made a hilarious joke about it on his Twitter handle.
Shah Rukh and his daughter Suhana at the Mumbai airport on Wednesday.(Yogen Shah)
Shah Rukh and his daughter Suhana at the Mumbai airport on Wednesday.(Yogen Shah)
Updated on Aug 12, 2016 10:50 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was detained at a US airport, yet again, on Thursday.

The actor shared his strife on Twitter on Friday saying, “I fully understand and respect security with the way the world is, but to be detained at US immigration every damn time really, really sucks.”

This was, however, not the first time he got in trouble with the US immigration department. He was detained for over two hours in 2012 at the New York airport after arriving from India in a private plane with Nita Ambani, to address students at Yale University. While Nita, wife of Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, and the rest of their group were cleared immediately, Khan was stopped and was given immigration clearance only after about two hours.

Read: Shah Rukh Khan detained at US airport, catches Pokemon to kill time

Khan faced the same troubles in 2009 at the Newark Airport in New Jersey where he was detained for nearly two hours because of his last name.

Even though racial profiling of Indians at the airports is nothing new, when it happens to famous personalities, especially to the ones in the cinema field, they make it to the news.

Here is a look at some famous Indians who have faced racism at the airport in the past.

1. Irrfan Khan

(Photo: Universal Pictures)
(Photo: Universal Pictures)

Actor Irrfan Khan was detained twice at the US airports - at Los Angeles airport in 2008 and at New York airport in 2009.

“It’s humiliating. They don’t even disclose the reason. Actually, I don’t use my surname Khan in films, but in passports, surname and religion are required. I was stopped not once, but several times at airports in the US,” Irrfan had revealed to a television channel in 2013.

2. Waris Ahluwalia

Actor Waris Ahluwalia arrives on the red carpet for the film Beeba Boys during the 40th Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto. (REUTERS)
Actor Waris Ahluwalia arrives on the red carpet for the film Beeba Boys during the 40th Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto. (REUTERS)

The Sikh Indian-American actor and designer claimed in February that he was barred from boarding an Aeromexico flight from Mexico City to New York because he refused to remove his turban.

According to agencies, Waris Ahluwalia’s feet and bag were searched and swabbed at Mexico City’s international airport and he was told to remove the sweatshirt. But when they asked him to remove his turban, the 41-year-old actor refused to budge.

3. APJ Abdul Kalam

(AFP Photo)
(AFP Photo)

Former President late APJ Abdul Kalam was frisked at the John F Kennedy Airport in New York on September 29, 2011. According to new reports, Dr Kalam had taken his seat in the aircraft but officials came inside and said they wanted to check the former President once again, which was strongly protested by Air India authorities. The airport authorities reportedly took away his shoes and jacket and returned them later.

The US later apologised to India for the incident.

4. Neil Nitin Mukesh

(HT Photo)
(HT Photo)

Bollywood actor Neil Nitin Mukesh was detained at the New York airport for over an hour in 2009 as he was ‘too fair’ to be an Indian.

“They thought I was too fair to be an Indian. I tried hard to convince them about my Indian credentials by telling them that both my mother and father are Indians. However, the incident changed my attitude of how I will approach my role in New York , which also dwells upon discrimination,” Neil had told a daily at that time.

5. Mammootty

(HT File Photo)
(HT File Photo)

Malayalam superstar Mammootty was detained at the JFK airport in New York in May 2009 because of his full name in the passport was Mohammad Kutty Ismail.

“I said who I am and when I told them that my website reveals everything, they were convinced after they checked it,” Mammootty told reporters after the incident.

6. Praful Patel

(HT File Photo)
(HT File Photo)

In September 2010, then Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel was quizzed by US immigration authorities at the O’Hare airport in Chicago after his name and date of birth matched with that of another Praful Patel, who is on the US’ watch-list.

7. George Fernandes

Former Defence Minister George Fernandes was strip-searched twice at Washington’s Dulles International Airport in 2002 and 2003 and he had “angrily” reported the incident to then Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott.

Mr. Talbott had narrated this incident in his book Engaging India — Diplomacy, Democracy and the Bomb.

8. Meera Shankar

Meera Shankar, the Indian Ambassador to the US between 2009 and 2011, was subjected to a pat-down search in December 2010 by security personnel at Mississippi airport though she was travelling on a diplomatic passport. The reason for the security search was that she was wearing sari.

9. Hardeep Puri

India’s UN envoy Hardeep Puri was detained for more than 30 minutes in a holding room at Houston airport after refusing to remove his turban in December 2010.

10. Azam Khan

(PTI Photo)
(PTI Photo)

Senior Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan, who was accompanying chief minister Akhilesh Yadav for a talk at Harvard University in the US in 2013, was detained briefly for questioning at the Boston Logan International Airport.

(With PTI inputs)

This story was first published on February 10, 2016.

Read | Sikh man who was barred from entering flight, turns plight into cause

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