Surname lands Sharukh Khan in trouble

Posted: September 16, 2009 in politics
Tags: , , , , ,

I feel that the Shahrukh Khan issue is blown out of proportion. One should admire the steps taken up by US airport to safeguard its country. Think of  doing the same in India! It is almost impossible to do so here. Here people want to show their superiority by disrespecting laws. Everybody is eager to show that they are above law and are VVIPs.

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was detained at Newark airport in New Jersey and questioned for over two hours after his surname came up on an airport alert list on Saturday. The actor was on his way to Chicago to attend an Independence Day event and, ironically, was in the US to promote his new film, My Name is Khan.

Later, SRK said: “I was really hassled by the authorities at the airport because of my surname. They wanted to know why I came to the US and where I was staying,” he said.What is wrong in doing routine security check-ups? The detention of SRK was for security purpose and is not a big deal. No 9/11-like incident occurred in the US because of strict vigil and I believe it is a good thing for any country to observe laws strictly.

There should never be any compromise when it comes to security. This is not the first time that an Indian film icon or a VIP was detained at an airport in the US and subjected to severe checks.

Mr George Fernandes, then defence minister, was made to remove his shirt and shoes at Washington’s airport on an official visit. Even former president of India APJ Abdul Kalam was frisked by Continental Airlines officials at New Delhi’s IGI Airport.

In April, Malayalam actor Mammootty was similarly separated for questioning  by security officials at JFK Airport in New York for more than two hours after his name popped up on the computer screen at the immigration counter. Mammootty, whose full name is Muhammadkutty Ismail Paniparambil, arrived at the airport by a British Airways flight and was taken to a separate room for interrogation on his purpose of visit to the US and other details. He was allowed to leave the airport after the Indian consulate contacted authorities and explained he is a popular actor in South India and has visited the US many times in the past.

Not just Muslims or Asians, the cops had not even spared Rock legend Bob Dylan, who was detained by police in Long Branch, New Jersey. Police officer Kristie Buble did not believe him when he Dylan told her his name, so she asked him for identification. When Dylan said he did not have any identification with him, she detained him and took him to the site where he claimed the tour buses were located.

Union I&B minister Ambika Soni’s remark looks very irresponsible. India should adopt similar stringent security measures not as a tit-for-tat to teach a lesson to Americans, but to safeguard the country.

Will all this brouhaha really change the racial profiling in the US. May be all this would have not blown out of the proportion if the officer had told SRK: “Oh, I’m sorry sir. I didn’t know that you are a superstar in India!”

I feel that the whole episode reaffirms the idolatry of VIP status in India. If a person is a politician or a movie star, why should he or she be exempted from security checks? Why shouldn’t they be detained? Why should VVIPS of our country just co-operate with authorities when it comes to security measures? They shouldn’t expect everybody to know their status and position. It’s true that film stars reach a wide audience, but should not think everybody knows about them. These VVIPs should visit any of our villages to know if people really know about them. They can’t recognise several film stars or politicians. If Angelina Joile and Brad Pitt are well known faces abroad, it need not be the same here. Not may will recognise them if they come to India. Likewise, there’s no big deal if people can’t recognise our film stars there.

Our VVIPs should learn to obey the rules and laws of other countries when on visit and stop crying fr such incidents. They need to follow the motto: Be a Roman when you are in Rome.

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