Monday, August 17, 2009

Anger in India at Bollywood star’s detention in U.S.

MUMBAI, India — Saturday, August 15. Independence Day in India. News trickled in that one of India’s most recognizable faces and names had been detained at an international airport in the United States. Questions about individual freedom, independence, liberty, and laws of the land are still being furiously debated in India.
Shah Rukh Khan said he was detained by authorities at the Newark, New Jersey, airport.
Shah Rukh Khan said he was detained by authorities at the Newark, New Jersey, airport.

Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan says he was detained by immigration officials in the U.S. for up to two hours and questioned. He says he believes it’s because of his Muslim last name, Khan.

“They kept telling me it’s because my name is common and I was too polite to say, common to what?” says Khan.

U.S. officials deny the superstar was held up because of his name and say the whole process took just 66 minutes – and that too, because the airline had misplaced his bags.

Whatever the reason, the incident has kicked up a furore in India. There’s an outpouring of outrage and anger at the way an Indian VIP was treated. Ambika Soni, India’s Information and Broadcasting Minister, said of the U.S.: “The way they frisk us, I say we frisk them the same way.”

Is she overreacting?

Among all the support fans are offering Khan, there are those who have little sympathy. Fellow Bollywood actor Salman Khan asks: “What’s the big deal? We all have to go through security.”

Do you agree with him? Has this whole incident been blown out of proportion? One observer said: “No-one is above the law of the land, and the U.S. officials were just doing their job.”

We’d love to know what you think. Should Shah Rukh Khan have not made such a fuss about being detained at Newark airport – or do you understand why he felt slighted?

Posted by: CNN Correspondent, Mallika Kapur
Filed under: India

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