By Rohit Singh:
Meera Shankar, Indian diplomat to Washington, who is considered for her grace and intelligence, had to undergo a humiliating security check at the Jackson-Evers International Airport in Mississippi last weekend.
Shankar, who is nearing the end of her tenure in Washington DC, was on her way back to the Capital after an address to the Janos Radvanyi Chair in International Security Studies at Mississippi State University and other engagements in the state during her first visit there, including meetings with state government officials, when she ran into the security flap.
Just because she was wearing her National female attire- a sari, the American Airport Security took her aside from the rest of the passengers and sent her for secondary screening which included pat down right in front of everyone despite the fact that sheÂ presented her diplomatic credentials and did not set on any alarm as she passed through the metal detector. The eye witnesses tell that she looked very humiliated from her facial expression.
According to the Transport and Security Administration guidelines, diplomats are subjected to normal screening when they present their diplomatic credentials and when they are escorted with security, but an exception was made in case of Meera Shankar just because of her sari. This is the height of embarrassment not only for the Indian diplomats but also for the national female attire of India which is considered to be extremely graceful all over the world.
“Although I understand we need proper security measures to protect the passengers in U.S. airports, I regret the outrageous way Indian Ambassador Shankar was treated by the TSA while visiting Jackson,” the state’s Lt. Governor Phil Bryant said, hoping that it would not deter her from coming back to the state.
Janos Radvanyi, the Hungarian diplomat-academic at whose invitation Shankar visited Jackson, said he plans to send a formal apology letter to the ambassador, and he expects other state and university leaders will, as well. “Mississippi had nothing to do with it, but she was very upset,” he told the Clarion-Ledger. He also added that this is really bad for Mississippi and she has said that she will never come back.
Well, the Indian Embassy is still silent on the incident. One can really wonder if they would ever stand up against the insult. An Indian diplomat is humiliated at an American Airport and the embassy out there is doing nothing more than sitting silent like dummies.
Let us just hope that the Indian embassy wakes up and does something straight rather than simply “diplomatic”Â regarding the humiliating incident and as for the American counterparts, they should check out what their securityÂ is doing to reputed officials. Hope they would not pat down some other lady just because she is wearing a sari.
The writer is a Correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.