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Indian envoy insulted, asked to remove turban

Dec 13, 2010 01:31 PM IST India India

Texas: After Indian Ambassador to the US Meera Shankar was subjected to a pat-down at an airport in the USA, another Indian envoy has been humiliated in America. India's permanent representative at the United Nations, Hardeep Puri, was frisked and asked to remove his turban.

Puri, a Sikh, was asked to remove his turban at the airport in Austin, Texas three weeks ago where he had gone for a lecture. He was asked to remove the turban even though the airport security had been told of his diplomatic status.

Puri refused to remove his turban and the matter was resolved but only after local police intervened.

The Government has already lodged a formal complaint with US authorities.

The incident involving Puri is the third such incident in the last three months in which Indian envoys have been signalled out for intrusive security checks.

Earlier, 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.