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US `overdid` SRK`s questioning: Chidambaram

Last Updated: Monday, August 17, 2009 - 21:10

New Delhi: Home minister P Chidambram on Monday said the Americans had "overdone it" by detaining Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan for two hours at Newark airport in New Jersey, for questioning.
"Had it been for ten minutes or even twenty minutes (of detention for questioning), one can understand it. But one fails to understand how could they hold him for two long hours?" said Chidambaram, talking to reporters on the sidelines of the annual meet of the state chief ministers and the police chiefs on internal security scenario in the country here at Vigyan Bhawan.

"It takes maximum of ten minutes, say twenty minutes, even if you have to frisk a person after stripping him. They have simply overdone it," he said.

"And to add to the complications, they allowed SRK to make a call only after two hours. Had they allowed him to make the call in first fifteen minutes, there would have been no controversy," said the minister.

Asked if India too would treat visiting US dignitaries or their high-profile citizens in the same manner, Chidambaram said: "We will tell them that we do it (frisking) and checking only in civilised manner."

The minister, however, lamented that such an unsavoury treatment was meted out to a high-profile citizen of a country where "we send our joint secretaries officers to the tarmac to receive them (visiting dignitaries.)"

Reacting to the incident, civil aviation minister Praful Patel on Sunday said that the government will take up the issue with the US government at its highest level.

"We will take the issue with the United States government strongly. Such incidents involving Indians due to their religion or nationality should not happen. We will not accept it," said Patel.

Khan was detained for about two hours Saturday morning at the airport in New Jersey where he had arrived to attend India`s Independence Day celebrations with Indian diaspora.

Khan was released after Congress MP Rajiv Shukla spoke to the authorities in the US and the Indian consulate. Khan had been detained after his name flashed on a computer and was asked several questions about the purpose of his visit.

Tourism Minister Ambika Soni too had condemned the incident.


First Published: Monday, August 17, 2009 - 21:10

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