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More Outrage: India's UN Envoy Hardeep Puri Asked To Remove Turban In US

PTI 13 Dec 2010, 13:25:40 IST
New Delhi, Dec 13 : There was consternation in the portals of South Block housing the External Affairs ministry on Monday as reports came in of India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Hardeep Puri being subjected to humiliation at an airport because he was wearing a Sikh turban. The incident occured two weeks ago.
At Houston, Texas airport, Hardeep Puri was asked to come out a queue, go to a room, where he had to wait for nearly 30 minutes for a pat-down search, despite showing documents to tell that he was the seniormost Indian diplomat in the United Nations.
Puri was given a patdown search and as the TSA (Transportation Security Agency) agent sought to patdown his turban, Puri refused.
Puri was then asked to take off his turban before the TSA agent.
The Indian consulate has lodged a strong protest with the US State Department.
Reacting to the incident, Ronen Sen, former Indian ambassador to the US revealed that even he and his wife were subjected to similar treatment during travel in that country.
Last week, Indian ambassador to the US Meera Shankar was asked to come out of a queue in Mississippi airport because she was wearing a saree and subjected to patdown search.
The American Charge De Affairs in Delhi was summoned to the External Affairs Ministry and given a strong demarche over this humiliating incident.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had then assured that such incidents would not be repeated, but the behaviour with Hardeep Puri really takes the cake.
In Sikh religion, nobody is allowed to touch the religious turban of a Sikh, nor is the Sikh expected to take off his turban during bodycheck.