Outrage over Kalam's frisking, US says sorry!

The United States'
government has formally
apologised to former
president APJ Abdul Kalam
for the humiliation he had to
undergo when security
officials frisked him at New
York's JFK airport on
September 29.
The apology came on
Sunday, the day Hindustan
Times broke the story on
Kalam being frisked at JFK
airport and his jacket and
shoes being taken for a
check after he had boarded
a flight.
The US embassy here said
in a statement that it had
"utmost respect" for the 80-
year-old former President
and "deeply regretted the
inconvenience that resulted
for him".
Security officials at the JFK
airport had forced the crew
of an Air India plane to
reopen the door as they
wanted to frisk Kalam
[ http://
Article1-768415.aspx ] a
second time after he had
been screened once.
Despite protests from the
airline crew that he was
India's former head of state,
the security personnel took
away Kalam's jacket and
shoes for a check. The test
is meant to detect the
presence of explosives.
There were angry reactions
in India to the incident.
External affairs minister SM
Krishna spoke to Indian
ambassador to the US
Nirupama Rao, directing her
to take up the matter in
writing at the "highest level"
in Washington.
MEA officials said Krishna
has sought a detailed report
from its mission.
This was not the first time
Kalam was frisked by US
officials. In April 2009,
officials of America's
Continental Airlines frisked
him at the Delhi airport.
"We had launched a strong
protest with the US and they
immediately apologised,"
MEA spokesperson Vishnu
Prakash told HT.
The US embassy said
ambassador Peter Burleigh
had personally delivered a
letter from the US
transportation security
administration to Kalam, and
a similar letter was
delivered to the government
of India.
"In these letters, the US
government extended its
apology that appropriate
procedures for expedited
screening of dignitaries had
not been followed. We are
actively working to prevent
similar incidents in the
future," the statement said.
Maintaining that it "deeply
values and appreciates" the
strong relationship and
partnership with India, the
US said, "We are confident
that despite this regrettable
incident, we will continue
working closely with India in
the many areas of our
strategic partnership".
Raging row [ http://
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| Kalam frisked twice in US
[ http://
Article1-768415.aspx ] |
Security hassle [ http://
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