Bộ Ngoại giao Ấn Độ đã đưa ra lời phản kháng với Hoa Kỳ vì một nhà ngoại giao thứ nhì bị kiểm soát quá chặt chẽ tại một sân bay của Mỹ.
Đặc sứ của Ấn Độ tại Liên Hiệp Quốc, ông Hardeep Puri, bị nhân viên an ninh sân bay ở Texas yêu cầu tháo khăn quấn đầu.
Khi ông phản đối vì lý do tôn giáo, phía an ninh buộc ông phải chờ 30 phút để họ duyệt lại quy định. Sau đó ông được cho đi mà không kiểm tra thêm.
Bộ trưởng Ngoại giao Ấn SM Krishna cho biết ông đã đặt vấn đề này với nhà chức trách Hoa Kỳ.
Tuần trước, Ấn Độ đã đưa ra lời phản đối tương tự sau khi Đại sứ Meera Shankar bị khám khắp người tại một sân bay ở Mississippi dù đã trưng hộ chiếu ngoại giao.
Hoa Kỳ tăng cường kiểm soát an ninh hàng không hiện nay như lục soát trên người và phải đi qua những máy chiếu rọi. Hình: AP
Indian envoy to UN told to ‘take off turban’ in US airport search
New Delhi: After Indian ambassador to the US Meera Shankar was singled out for a hands-on body search at an American airport 10 days ago, it has now emerged that Indian envoy to the United Nations Hardeep Puri’s turban underwent the same pat-down experience at the Houston airport in the US two weeks ago.
This despite the airport security being told of his diplomatic status. Sources said Puri was asked to remove his turban while the security searched him. It is understood the External Affairs ministry has expressed concern about the incident.
Shankar’s experience had rattled the External Affairs Ministry last week, with Foreign Minister S M Krishna calling it “unacceptable”.
More so, because American diplomats to India, ministry sources said, were accorded total immunity from any search.
On December 4 at the Jackson-Evers International Airport, a sari-clad Shankar was pulled out of a security line and patted down by a female Transportation Security Administration agent.
Shankar had presented her diplomatic papers to officers and was escorted by a Mississippi Development Authority representative and an airport security officer, but witnesses said she was subjected to the hands-on search.
Witnesses tell the ‘Clarion-Ledger’ that security agents told Shankar she was singled out because she was wearing a sari, which the paper notes is “a traditional Indian robe that is draped across the body”.
The Ministry of External Affairs took it up strongly with the Americans after Krishna said: “There are certain well-established conventions, well established practices as to how diplomats representing other countries should be treated in a particular country. I am rather surprised in the manner Shankar has been treated. That too, for the second time in the last three months. This is unacceptable to India. We shall take it up with the US,” he said. India on Saturday too conveyed a stern tit-for-tat message to the US that such incidents call for a “review” of privileges and facilities extended to the American diplomats in India.
This “strong concern” was communicated to the Deputy chief of mission in the US embassy Donald Lu, who was called on Saturday afternoon by Jawed Ashraf, Joint Secretary (in-charge of America division) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
MEA sources said that Ashraf told Lu that New Delhi respects the privileges of foreign diplomats in India and extends diplomatic courtesies to them. But such incidents “naturally lead to calls for review” of privileges and facilities given in India. It is learnt that Ashraf told Lu that the Indian ambassador had to undergo enhanced security checks because New Delhi has been informed she was wearing a sari.
In the past, many prominent Indians, including ministers, have faced some uncomfortable moments at US airports.
In September, visiting 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 America’s watch-list.
In August 2009, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was detained and questioned at the Newark Liberty International Airport. Khan was headed to Chicago for a parade to celebrate India’s Independence Day, when he was pulled aside by airport authorities for interrogation.
Former Defence Minister George Fernandes had claimed that he was strip-searched twice at Dulles Airport in the US Capital area, when he was on an official visit to Washington in early 2002 and another time while en route to Brazil in mid 2003.
Source: The Indian Express