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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

UP Minister Azam Khan blames Salman Khurshid for Boston airport detention

I had recently posted about the millions that converged at Kumbh mela and the opportunity provided to UP CM for speaking at a symposium on Harvard……. Perhaps I was a tad bit early… that is not to be….

Reports quoting CNN-IBN  now state that, angry over the alleged detention of his cabinet minister Azam Khan at the Boston airport, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav cancelled a reception to be hosted in his honour by New York Consul General Dnyaneshwar Mulay on Saturday and the Harvard panel discussion of which he was a part. Yadav was to be a panel speaker in the spring symposium of Harvard’s South Asia Initiative on the subject Harvard Without Borders: Mapping the Kumbh Mela. A communique from the Consulate General of India in New York merely stated “that due to unavoidable circumstances, the reception scheduled to be held in honour of Akhilesh Kumar Yadav, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh on April 27 at the Consulate General of India, New York has been cancelled”.

Back home, upping its rhetorics, Samajwadi Party sought an apology from the US for the “insult” caused by the questioning of Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan at the Logan International Airport in Boston. “We demand an apology from the US on the issue as Indians cannot be insulted like this after being invited,” senior SP leader Naresh Agarwal told reporters here. Khan, a senior leader of the ruling SP in UP and also the Urban Development minister of the state, was detained for about 10 minutes at the Boston airport for “further questioning” after he landed in a scheduled British Airways flight from India. External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said India has asked its Embassy in Washington to take up the matter appropriately with the US authorities.

The event that occurred in Boston cast its shadow in India – but in a different turn, Uttar Pradesh Minister Azam Khan, who was briefly detained at the US airport, on Sunday accused External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid of hatching a “conspiracy” to defame him outside India. He even claimed that a call on continuation of Samajwadi Party’s support to the UPA government will be taken by party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav after hearing his version and that of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on their return to India. Insisting that his situation should not be compared to that of Kalam, Shah Rukh, Indian Ambassador to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri or the then Indian envoy to the US Meera Shankar, Khan alleged, “It was a conspiracy because I am a powerful non-Congress Muslim leader of India and he (Khurshid) had cleverly planned with the help of the Department of Homeland Security using his clout as an Indian Cabinet minister.

Khan is quoted as stating that when he was detained inside the airport, the Consulate General of India’s protocol officers who had come to receive us acted like total strangers and silent spectators and he alleged that there should have been some instructions from their superiors to stay away.  Khan went on to state that Khurshid is unfit to be Indian Foreign Minister. He stated that he was detained for 45 minutes, protested after which the Officers came, gave him his passport and said he can leave to which he protested seeking reasons for the detention, mishandling and mental harassment.   Khan said that the Central Govt has no shame and did not protest.  He added  “Last year Khurshid’s wife lost her deposit in the state election and lost miserably and he has a grudge against me. He became a Union minister by chance as he happens to sit in Parliament. It’s by sheer fluke and what does he know about diplomacy.”

At the time of spat between Salman Khurshid and Azam Khan this way, there is another voice – as usual blunt and direct.  Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy added his voice to the debate surrounding Uttar Pradesh Minister Azam Khan, and is reported as stating - “Going to US is voluntary choice. So why this hullabaloo if a sovereign government has its own rules of security?” tweeted Swamy.  

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
29th Apr 2013

With inputs taken from

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