NEW DELHI – US authorities have sacked two officials of their Transport Security Agency for “exceeding their brief” by subjecting former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam to humiliation at New York’s JFK airport on September 29. The officials had not only frisked Kalam but went to the extent of taking his jacket and shoes from a flight he had already boarded — as first reported by Hindustan Times on November 13.
Following what can at best be described as over-zealousness by the American security officials, the two countries are discussing ways to draw up a common “no-frisk” list so that such blunders do not take place in future.
“But the task is proving to be difficult as there are too many VIPs in India,” a senior government official said here on Wednesday.
The action against the two security officials was taken after US authorities carried out an enquiry following India’s complaint and found that they had indeed frisked Kalam and later forced the crew of the Air India plane he had boarded to open its door and hand over the former president’s jacket and shoes to check for explosives.
President Kalam is not exempt from screening in the US but as a part of mutual courtesies, he gets an escort and a place for private screening. Such courtesies are extended even up to a secretary-level official.