Friday, July 24, 2009

Frisking episode

Continental Airlines apologised to the former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, for the treatment meted out to him at the Delhi airport only on seeing the groundswell of public mood against it. The incident goes beyond just a breach of protocol. It shows the West’s intolerance of others. It is a deep-rooted malaise and the paranoia following the 9/11 incident has brought it out in the open.

The frisking of Mr. Kalam is condemnable. I do not think India has given such treatment to any foreign leader. But our students are attacked in Australia and our leaders frisked at airports. Is it because of our extreme tolerance or incapability to oppose such things tooth and nail?One wonders how the United States will react if Bill Clinton is subjected to such a security procedure while on his visit to India! Do American airlines frisk their former Presidents? If the answer is no, Continental Airlines will have to answer a serious diplomatic question.

As much as we all resent what happened, filing an FIR is going too far. A show-cause notice is a must, as the country needs to be assured that the frisking was routine and not racially motivated. But for all we know, Mr. Kalam might have had no problems whatsoever.

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