Meera Shankar Indian Ambassador Gets TSA Patdown, Jackson Airport
India Protests TSA Pat-down of Indian Ambassador To The USA At Jackson-Evers International Airport
The Indian government is protesting the TSA Pat-down of Meera Shankar the Indian Ambassador to the United States who was allegedly singled out for the TSA Pat-down because she was wearing a Sari.
The TSA pat-down of Meera Shankar occurred as the Indian Ambassador was heading back to Washington from the Jackson-Evers aiport, according to the Clarion-Ledger.
Shankar presented her diplomatic papers to officers and was escorted by an MDA representative and an airport security officer, but witnesses said she was subjected to the hands-on search."The way they pat them down - it was so humiliating," said Tan Tsai, a research associate at MSU's International Security Studies center who witnessed the screening. "Anybody who passed by could see it."
Reports from the scene say Meera Shankar was singled out because she was wearing a Sari - the traditional dress for hundreds of millions of Indian women around the world.
Those who witnessed the ambassador's screening said officers told her that she was singled out because of the way she was dressed. Shankar was wearing a sari - a traditional Indian robe that is draped across the body.
The TSA has guidelines that allow additional screenings when passengers are wearing "bulky" clothing.
"This passenger was screened in accordance with TSA security procedures," TSA spokesman Jon Allen said in an e-mail Tuesday.
Meera Shankar was also subject to a similar TSA pat-down in Chicago and the Indian government is lodging a protest.
Let me be frank. This is unacceptable to India. We are going to take it up with the government of the United States so that such unpleasant incidents do not recur," India's Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters in New Delhi.
Though diplomats are not specifically exempt from TSA Pat-downs, TSA officials have some discretion.
Meera Shankar was in Mississppi was for an event at Mississippi State University. Meera Shankar also met with the Lt. Governor of Mississippi, Phil Bryante who expressed regret for the Ambassador's treatment.