India to take up SRK issue with US

New Delhi: Reacting strongly to the detention of Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan at a New York airport, India today asserted that "mechanical apology" from the US side in such cases was not "adequate" and that it will take up the issue with the highest authorities in that country.

On his way to address students at Yale University, Shahrukh was detained by immigration officials for nearly two hours after arriving from India in a private plane at White Plains Airport, which is about 53 kilometres from Manhattan, and was given immigration clearance after intervention by Indian Consulate General (CGI).

Immediately after the intervention by CGI, the US Customs and Border Protection authorities expressed "profound" apology in a letter to them.

However, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna has asked Ambassador Nirupama Rao to take up the matter with the highest US authorities.

"Repeated problem for same person followed by clearance on account of Consulate intervention and mechanical apology is not adequate," Ministry of External Affairs sources said.

According to the sources, the letter by the immigration department said that SRK`s name was "flagged" in the system and airport people needed approval of "senior" authorities to clear him.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla too deplored the detention of Shahrukh Khan saying what has happened is "not appropriate".

Noting that this type of incident has not happened with Khan in US for the first time, Shukla, a close friend of the superstar, said that the Homeland Security there needed to get their act together by having a proper databank.

"They should review their security provisions especially for those whose identity is well established", Shukla said adding that such type of incidents have happened with several dignitaries, including a former President.

He said he was happy that the External Affairs Minister has taken up the issue seriously.