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8 Aug, 2013

India protests racial/ethnic profiling of travellers, cyber-intrusions


New Delhi, 7 August 2013 (Press Information Bureau and Travel Impact Newswire) – The Indian government has protested the growing number of incidents involving the racial profiling and harassment of Indian travellers at airports around the world. It has also declared as “unacceptable” the “violation of Indian laws relating to the privacy of information of ordinary Indian citizens” by U.S. security agencies.

The fact that these issues are now being raised in Parliament of the world’s largest democracy reflects the growing frustration with the scourge of racial profiling in the travel chain, as well as the growing demands for accountability.

Responding to a question in Parliament on Aug 7, the Minister of External Affairs Mr Salman Khurshid said: “Some instances of secondary frisking/enhanced security checks/secondary inspections of Indians, in some countries like the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Turkey, Malaysia and Mozambique, have been brought to the attention of the Government. These cases of secondary frisking/enhanced security checks/secondary inspections are normally presented to us as necessitated by security requirements.

“The Government has lodged strong protest with the respective governments on each such occasion. The Government has conveyed that while it respects the rights of each country to institute necessary security procedures at their airports, internationally recognized diplomatic courtesies and privileges as also religious and cultural sensitivities must be respected.

“In several instances, respective governments have shown sensitivity about the inconvenience caused to Indian travellers because of these enhanced security checks,” Mr Khurshid said.

The headline of the Press Information Bureau’s report on this statement described it as “Harassment of Indians at Airports.”

Another question was also posed about U.S. security agencies’ monitoring of Internet communications emanating from India, as disclosed to journalist Glenn Greenwald by Edward Snowden, a former intelligence official working for a private contractor hired by the U.S. National Security Agency.

Responding to this question, the Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs Mrs Preneet Kaur said the Indian Government has expressed concerns over reports of access by U.S. agencies to internet communications emanating from India.

She added, “Government views any violation of Indian laws relating to the privacy of information of ordinary Indian citizens as unacceptable. The Indian Embassy in Washington DC has raised these concerns with the U.S. Department of State. Government will also raise these concerns with the U.S. in the bilateral dialogue mechanisms on cyber issues.”


Racial profiling is a gross violation of human rights. Over the last few years, racial profiling against Muslims and those assumed to be Muslims, such as bearded Sikhs, has become rampant across the travel chain.  It has become worse because not a single travel industry organisation has taken it up — neither ICAO, ACI, IATA, UNWTO, WTTC, PATA, nor any of the smaller travel industry organisations.

Now, however, the age of two-way accountability is dawning. As the number of cases mount, along with complaints, the trickle is becoming a trend and soon set to become a tsunami. As this editor has written on several previous occasions, U.S. travel industry organisations will have to wake up and smell the coffee. The writing is on the wall.

See also:

Families Of Victims Of Sikh Temple Shooting, Sister Of Slain Newtown Teacher, Wisconsin Mayors, And Faith Leaders To Hold Memorial Marking Anniversary Of Oak Creek Shooting

CAIR Action Alert: Urge Members of Congress to Ban Racial Profiling

CAIR-NY: Being a Muslim in a Post-9/11 America

CAIR: Secret No-Fly List Blamed for Bangkok Nightmare (LA Times)