The media have given tremendous prominence to the news of actor Shah Rukh Khan being detained for two hours by the U.S. immigration officials at the Newark airport. Why are we overcome with indignity? The U.S. is so obsessed with its security that the staff of one of its airlines searched a former Indian President on Indian soil. When many top-ranking Ministers are treated in a similar manner, why should Shah Rukh be treated any differently? You think the U.S. cares about our sensibilities? No, it only wants to ensure that there are no more 9/11s on its soil.
It is well known that the U.S. authorities are extremely strict in security matters. It is only because of such rigorous checks that 9/11-types of terror attacks have not taken place there after 2001.
Harikrishna S. Holla,
One can understand the hue and cry our leaders raised when Mr. Kalam was frisked by Continental Airlines. But SRK is an ordinary citizen. Many Indians are routinely questioned in U.S. airports. Neither the government nor the media highlight their ordeal.
It is surprising to find many people, including Minister Ambika Soni, crying hoarse over the Newark episode. We should praise the American security system, which detained SRK after his name popped up on the computer screen. Even if the security officer recognised him, how could he possibly let him off after his name was flashed on the screen?
Soon after a bomb blast rocked Delhi in 2008, security was tight, and I had to wait with my husband at a cinema for more than 15 minutes as everyone was being frisked. Along came a couple with two children and some relatives. They breezed past the security. When we asked the security personnel why they were not frisked, we were told that they were “personal guests of the multiplex owners.” The U.S. is different. It treats security with the seriousness it deserves. SRK got a taste of what countless ordinary people do every day, which is not all that bad.
We worship our celebrities — no queues for them, no policeman will ever search them, no one will ever ask them tough questions. It is time we took security seriously. How many times have we seen VIP treatment meted out to even television serial actors? This celebrity worship will cost us dear some day.
Saiyad Asif Ali,
We accept that a celebrity is above the law. In the U.S., a traffic cop can book the President’s daughter for speeding. In India, a high-ranking police official treats even the helper of a politician with deference.