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Indian envoy denies he was humiliated

CNN-IBN
Dec 13, 2010 at 07:07pm IST

Texas: India's permanent representative to the United Nations, Hardeep Puri, who was reported to have been patted down in Texas, has denied being humiliated by the security persons.

Talking to CNN-IBN, Hardeep said, "This is something that happened a month ago, on November 13. When I entered the airport, the security person told me about the new procedures. I said I knew about the new procedures and was willing to cmply with them. After I went through the scanner, without any beep, they told me to come to a separate enclosure and asked me if I was willing to have my turban patted down. I told him that the new procedure provides an option for a passenger to refuse the pat down and touch the turban with his own hand and then offer the hand for a swipe. The security person was unaware about the new rule and asked me to remove my turban. However, I refused to do so. I told him to check with his superiors. After 30 minutes, the security team came back, apologised profusely and was allowed to proceed and the issue was over. All the reports saying I was humiliated are false."

Earlier on Monday, reports said that Hardeep was frisked and asked to remove his turban at the airport in Austin, Texas.

The report came days after Neera Shankar was pulled out from an airport security line and patted down by an American security agent in Mississippi despite being told of her diplomatic status. The incident took place on December 4 at the Jackson-Evers International Airport where saree-clad Shankar was about to board a flight to Baltimore after attending the Mississippi State University's programme.

The USA had on December 11 tendered an official apology to India and Meera over her pat down by an American security agent. The US government said that Meera's pat down was not meant to be a put down, while promising a review of airport screening guidelines.

William Burns, a senior State Department official, personally conveyed his regrets and promised Meera a review of airport screening guidelines.

The apology was issued after External Affairs minister SM Krishna, in line with public opinion and opposition protests warned that US diplomats, too, would be frisked in India if such incidents recur.

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