After a Bollywood star is held at Newark Airport, Indian protesters took to the streets. The Bollywood star that was held is Shah Rukh Khan, the Indian “Brad Pitt.” Read more and see photos and video here.
After his name came up on a watch list, Khan was held for nearly two hours, and was only freed after the Indian Embassy in Delhi stepped in. He is a Muslim, and his last name is reportedly fairly common to followers of the religion.
The movie star was in the US to attend a parade to celebrate India’s independence. In an ironic twist, he was also here to promote My Name is Khan, a movie about “racial profiling of Muslims after the Sept. 11 attacks.”
About his treatment at Newark Liberty International Airport, Mr. Khan told CNN:
“It wasn’t pleasant or nice but I also do respect the fact that it’s meant to be a procedure which needs to be followed if you want to enter America.”
After learning that their most beloved Bollywood star was held for nearly two hours, some angry protesters hit the streets in New Dehli. A few even burned an American flag.
A federal official named, Ambika Sonia, told the AP that perhaps India should “adopt a similar policy toward Americans traveling to India.”
The New York Times quoted several individuals at the India Day Parade in NYC about the incident, and the response was somewhat mixed. 26-year-old Mehal Kadakia said:
“In my opinion, they were doing their job. I’m sure as an actor traveling, he has a lot of luggage, and if that seemed suspicious, I’d rather have them check and make sure he’s O.K.”
Others weren’t so understanding. 30-year-old Santripti Vellody, was apparently upset that such a high-profile star was singled out, saying:
“It’s absolutely disrespectful to him…and it’s only based on his religion and last name — he has a Muslim name — and I don’t think that’s right.”
Officials at the Department Of Homeland Security insist that people are not pulled aside for a “secondary inspection” based on their religion, and that Mr. Khan’s experience was no exception.
Shah Rukh Khan has been described as the most recognizable star in Bollywood, and the news that he was held has been a major item in India since it occurred.
What are your feelings about the incident? Can you understand the outrage? Was he profiled in your opinion?
Or was it simply a matter or procedure? Let us hear it in the comments section below.
See more photos and video below.