The Samajwadi Party has reacted strongly to the frisking and detention of senior leader and Urban Development Minister Mohammad Azam Khan at Boston’s Logan International Airport in the United States on Thursday.
Mr. Khan, who was accompanying Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for a lecture at Harvard University on the successful logistics of the Mahakumbh event organised in Allahabad this year, has threatened to curtail his visit in protest against what he described as misbehaviour by the American officials.
In a statement released here through his information officer after midnight on Thursday, Mr. Khan alleged that he had been humiliated by the American authorities because he was a Muslim.
Condemning the incident, SP general secretary Ram Asrey Kushwaha said in Kanpur that the party had lodged a protest with the Government of India. Mr. Kushwaha, however, said he was not surprised as this had happened earlier with several Indian leaders and film stars.
Meanwhile, the Indian embassy in Washington D.C has reportedly taken up the issue of Mr. Khan’s detention with the American authorities.
The Minister was reportedly detained for about 10 minutes for “further questioning.” The high-power contingent led by Mr. Akhilesh Yadav, which included among others, State Chief Secretary Javed Usmani, had arrived by a British Airways flight.
Reports said the Minister was taken in for questioning by a woman officer of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Wing of Homeland Security after the CM’s team was cleared by the immigration authorities. Mr. Khan reportedly lost his cool and demanded an apology from the officer.
In his statement, Mr. Khan said he was detained in spite of having a diplomatic passport.