Should Kalam have been frisked?

July 21, 2009

Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s frisking at the Delhi international airport has sparked uproar in the Indian media.

Former President Abdul KalamKalam is one of India’s most popular presidents, his tenure remembered both for his common touch and his earlier role in India’s rise as a nuclear power.

The government has filed a police report against Continental Airlines, whose staff frisked Kalam, violating a Bureau of Civil Aviation Security directive exempting specified VIPs and VVIPs from security checks.

Social networking sites were abuzz with angry Indians wondering how Americans would have reacted if, for example, former U.S. president Bill Clinton had been frisked.

For its part, the airline issued a statement saying both there were no exceptions to its security policy and it believed that Kalam had not been offended.

What do YOU think? Should Kalam have been frisked?


There are rules and there is common sense. It is also important that people and corporates understand the environment and culture they operate in.

This is a crass and insensitive act by Continental. They deserve to be censured and punished.

And it only further projects US and Corporate America as arrogant superpower who tread on all the rest. But knowing Americans this is not true.. so it is in fact Americans who should look at such incidents and call the involved to account

Posted by Raghu Bhaskaran | Report as abusive

A small question “What would have happened when if this thing would have happened to a ex-american president?”

Posted by Ashish | Report as abusive

Of course everyone should be frisked as a matter or routine security. I don’t care if God showed up at IGIA or any other airport, or port in India. Everyone gets frisked. No exceptions!

Posted by H Zadoo | Report as abusive

This is a lot of noise about nothing.


If there is a Bureau of Civil Aviation Security directive and that has been violated, then, sorry, that is not acceptable. I think Continental must be made to answer, and their defence that there are no exceptions to frisking, does not sell. This happened in India in violation of a directive, and with one of our most respected statesmen. I am horrified at the insensitivity and ignorance of the Airlines. I do not know what the law allows, but if it is possible, the airline must be banned from Indian Airports at least for a few months.

Posted by Krispad | Report as abusive

The staff of Continental Airlines have taken more care in frisking the VVIPs. I wonder if they dare to frisk their EX or Present VVIPs or Presidents. Had they dare to do the same with their Ex President, they might have been shown the boot by now. Staff of Continental Airlines should have strictly adhere to the directives of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security. Same thing can happen to them also at airport itself as they are not super humans. Continental Airlines should immediately tender their unconditional apology for this shameful act,

Posted by indiboy | Report as abusive

Should Bill Clinton have been frisked?

Posted by Peter | Report as abusive

will America tolerate if its ex president George Bush or Clinton been frisked anywhere in the world in the name of secuirty?

Posted by Ranjini | Report as abusive

This is one of the most outrageous things happened in the recent past. A former president of the country frisked for security reasons at an airport in the national capital. And the airlines say, it is a “normal procedure”! Whether it is a normal or abnormal procedure, they will soon come to know!

Posted by Paul Chacko | Report as abusive

This shows arrogance of America and its people. How dare they can do that? Continental Airline should unconditionally apologies for this incident or they should not be allowed to operate out of India.

Posted by sk | Report as abusive

Kalam himself has to be partly blamed for this fiasco, No American president or former presidents travels in non-American airlines, Kalam should have travelled in Air India in First place.

Posted by Raju Cherian | Report as abusive

Never!! It is about our national pride. Frisk Ms.Clinton and see what happens.

Posted by unni | Report as abusive

This is absolutely unpardonable on the part of Continental and also on the Govt. of India for events that lead to insulting former President of India.

Posted by Praveen | Report as abusive

No. This shouldn’t have happened to a person who held the top most office in INDIA. Anybody and everybody who operate business in India should know VVIPs and sounds like this frisking happened even after the MPs made the officers aware that he is a VVIP.
It is more insulting to see that the airlines issues a statement instead of Apology.

Posted by Vipin | Report as abusive

I do not think Continental airlines acted appropriately. This is common sense, he is a world renowned figure, a former president and highly respected. Was the staff uneducated, that they could not realize who he was?
They should not just apologize – they only understand money, so they should be fined also.

Posted by Viswanath | Report as abusive

Its an outrageous incident outright. No arguments here. A former president of India being a VVIP, there was an obvious callous regard for the laws of India and to top it, the airlines refused to apologize.

I want to know what the heck Praful is doing issuing meek statements like investigation. When facts are known, the action should be swift and severe. That should serve a notice to all who think they can do whatever in India. The blame lies with the Indian Govt too. They are spineless. They dont have any self-respect. They fear everybody on planet Earth – Tom, Dick and Harry and anybody else out there.

For once, show that India is no less than any other country in upholding the law of the land. Freeze the Airline operations if they dont apologize. That will send a message.

Hope the Congress party saves India’s self respect by not delaying anymore with meek statements and take ACTION! They dont have any respect for themselves anyway…so I am hoping for a miracle!


Bureau of Civil Aviation Security can revoke the licence it has given to Continental Airlines. If they can not honour an Indian Government directive, just ask them to windup and go.

It is as simple as that!!

Posted by Teby | Report as abusive

‘Kalam had not been offended’ is a lame excuse. The former president is a down to earth person, and the statement may be true.

Simply speaking, the airlines ignored the law of the country, or overruled the law of india by their own procedure.

President Abdul Kalam is an immensely popular figure because is a learned and kind-hearted man, a scientist, and a visionary.

The airlines not only played with law in the name of standard procedure, they have played, inadvertantly though, with emotion of a huge population.

Apologise or pack up your bags continental.

Posted by quark | Report as abusive

Thats the difference between Indians and Americans. The patriotic Americans don’t trust Indians (after all all Indians are slaves and potential terrorists). The unpatriotic Indians always behave like slaves of Americans. Serves the Indians right..

Posted by suresh kinnar | Report as abusive

If the airline was notified in an official manner in advance, about No Frisking Protocol of VVIP, they cannot violate the protocol. If Continental cannot follow the law of the land, they better wind up their shop. Alternatively they should not accept such bookings.

Posted by Ashok Bhagat | Report as abusive

This is a shameful and clear violation of DIPLOMATIC PROTOCOL. This is not about seeking favoritism for an Indian politician. Shame on Continental for disrespecting an Indian President in his own country! To add further insult the airline has not demonstrated the decency to come out and apologize for violation of diplomatic protocol. Shame on Continental Airlines. India should withdraw landing rights for Continental. Hit back where it hurts most!
John, New York

Posted by John | Report as abusive

It was a violation. Dr. Abdul Kalam is a highly respectable well known (known all over the world including USA) head-of-state of India, and the airline, no matter which airline it is, should have respected this fact and should not have frisked this great person. He is one of the few gems which India has produced and he can be considered as one of the few gems which every human being should learn to respect. Wise people always respect others’ dignity and wisdom lies there. The response from Indian government is appropriate and well deserved in this case. A message to beloved Ex-President of India: Mr. President, His Highness Abdul Kalam, you are beloved to millions of people, not only in India but around the world and have won hearts of these people who have immense affection and respect for you.

Posted by RVMUN | Report as abusive

If Dr Kalam cannot be trusted then even Obama cannot be trusted. The US folks are increasingly becoming paranoid. The day is not far off, when they will stop trusting themselves.

Posted by sunny | Report as abusive

If protocol exempts former Presidents from being frisked, what is meted out to Mr Kalam seems to be unfair. Unless protocol terms are known, it is not that easy to comment.

Posted by Mukhil | Report as abusive

I severally condemned their action and whatever their explanation by Airlines. This is an absolute nuances and clear violation of VVIP and protocol and it can’t be justified by word security procedures. Our authorities must ask Airline’s explanation and they must offer an unconditional apologize to our EX president. Otherwise it will be shameful for the entire nation.


Posted by STANLY | Report as abusive

Of course NOT! It’s not just a breach of protocol, but also a slap in the face of us all. An ex-President, a Bharat Ratna and this is how he is treated? On his own soil? By some stupid american airline? This is unpardonable. Of course President Kalam being a gentlemanwill not make a fuss, but i hope the other ‘VIPs’ in the parliament do something about it.


No, Not at all

Posted by RANJEET SINGH RANA | Report as abusive

No, not all, it insult of India

Posted by RANJEET SINGH RANA | Report as abusive

it should have been avoided….but still things like this will repeat again and again

Posted by sudeep | Report as abusive

i personally feel they shouldnt have done it.Kalam is one of the greats who have taken India into the history of world. they shldnt have treated him like that not only that they should have some sense while doin so to such a great man. they could have done this to any M.P or some political person but doin to this to that great man is totally ridiculous and can be given no excuses. Are they ready to do the same to any political leader?? because Mr kalam is a gentleman and accepts everything they behaved on their own. They should get the punishment for their recklessness .

Posted by sri harsha | Report as abusive

its a shame

Posted by goutham | Report as abusive

This incident shouldn’t have happened but Dr. Kalam has no problem with it, so why the buzz ?!?!

If such rules apply to everyone internationally – its OK but if not -action should be taken aganst Continental Airlines.

Posted by Santosh | Report as abusive

Can the airline dare doing the same with president of U.S.? I think this happened because we happen to be a soft nation and probably because people like the one working with Continental Airlines think themselves of higher in race & status than others specially Indians.

Why can’t government bar the Continental in India!!! We will see then how they behave when their revenues got hit…

And who dared giving such statement from airlines side!~!!?? Put him / her behind the bars.

I would urge Indians across the world not to use this idiot airline…

To hell with you… Continental Airlines

Posted by Nimesh | Report as abusive

I think this a pre-orchestrated effort by the airline to denounce the nation’s name and probably a cheap marketing tactics by the desperate airline. Besides being poor in customer service they have proved that they do not even qualify to be considered to operate services to India.


Surely not.Certain VVIPs are clearly exempted from frisking.Frisking is strongly condemned

Posted by Pranav | Report as abusive

One rule should apply to all,and even if one has decided that that rule is going to be unequal treatments of unequals (more equals! less equals! etcetera etcetera), then that rule should be enforced.
All airlines should follow them, Kalam should not have been frisked.
Apart from that it is also a bit like making a mountain of a mole hill (especially blogs like this one: Frisking of Kalam is an insult to nation  /randomaccess/entry/frisking-of-kalam-i s-an).
We should be more thick-skinned, and let the proper official channels settle this.

Posted by vipul | Report as abusive

If they (airlines ) are not ready to respect the law of land, then we should penalize them.

Posted by Senthil Kumar | Report as abusive

This just shows the paranoia that has gripped the entire western world since 9/11. In some ways the ignorance of the airlines is also to be noted. Usually when a dignitary travels, he has his personal security officers accompanying him. Assuming the airlines didn’t know who Kalam was, and that there was never a more unlikely person to slip a gun into the plane, why didn’t those accompanying the former President follow protocol?
As such, it will be unfair to come down hard on the airline officials who were just doing their job. But it’s unfortunate that a person of Kalam’s stature had to undergo the humiliation.

Posted by Toxictulip | Report as abusive

how can an airline get away with just an apology , this is unacceptable . Can our airline do the same for an ex US president and then apologize later.

this happened in the past with our ex defence minister as well,why do we have to be a soft nation.


the question is not about should Kalam have been frisked. There is a bigger question about a deep rooted Indian psychological malaise that is for the common man. Elites(Political/Sports/Movies/Business) are above the law.

Why is the traffic police man scared to penalize a neta. why is there no queue for elites of society. Why should they get preferential treatment.

Once we give in to this mentality, it start working at various levels in society and starts to degrade the society as a whole.

Yes..Dr. Kalam should have been frisked. He is not the serving president. He had been a great president no doubt about that. But he is just like other normal citizens and there should be no preferential treatment.

Someone commented that this would never happen to a US president. Well ex US presidents/serving senators have been given penalized for breaking traffic rules. Imagine that happening in India.

Posted by sanju | Report as abusive

Just relax all of you, won’t you? The airlines people are just doing their duty. Forget for a moment it’s kalam. if they hadn’t taken the necessary security steps for each and every individual, each and every time, it wouldve put a lot more lives at risk.

Posted by sepiamutiny | Report as abusive

bravo matthias for writing about an issue all of us feel need to be highlighted. Kalam is one of our most respected Presidents and frisking him was not a smart thing to do. The airline clearly didnt take a close look at the passengers list and if they did, missed the name of a former president. Which is again very telling about the kind of customer service they offer. But on the whole I feel its mostly the Indian government’s fault for scaling down security for a former president.

Posted by manmohan tiwari | Report as abusive

Were they trying to find a missile inside Abdul Kalam’s pocket? This should never have happened. The government should ban Continental from operating in India.

Posted by Bijesh | Report as abusive

the airline hasn’t certainly followed the protocol that former presidents should not go through security check. it is clear. while bush or obama will not go thru this because they fly charter airlines after they retire. they don’t fly commercial jet. it was great on kalam to go thru this check humbly and great on himm for flying a commercial airliner without any fuss.

certainly continental should be penalised for not following the protocol. if they ignored the local law or don’t want to observe it then they have no business in the country. TSA is american department, it has not jurisdiction in India. Continental Airline PR Aparna cannot decry the notion that they were enforcing TSA laws. for crying out loud, this is india not america and TSA is not a department in india that can override Government rules.

Posted by vivek | Report as abusive

I’m disappointed at the lack of critical thinking amongst the predominantly Indian responses. Nearly all airlines overseas use local talent. That means Continental has INDIAN employees at the airport where the former President was frisked!!! Just as you would see Continental have Japanese employees in Tokyo. Am I safe to assume the Continental INDIAN employees can’t recognize their former President? Perhaps there should be more Indian “outrage” at poverty in the nation or the very suspicious Mumbai attack which smells of CIA/Mossad.

Posted by Benito M | Report as abusive

Where the hell do you draw a line. I have a lot of respect for Dr. Kalam, but can’t say that for the bunch of other lunatics who are considered “VIP”, “VVIP” in india. Some of them have got away with murder, steeling, etc. I’m sorry, but on this I’d side with the airlines, and if you ask Dr. Kalam he would probably say the same.

Posted by rkt | Report as abusive

@sanju. This is not about our mentality or what happens in road every other day. firstly Kalam is not everyday neta you talk about, he has good reputation, for heavens sake he was a reputed missile scientist and former President of India. Few people like him can change entire fate of the nation.

He lead project to develop Strategic Ballistic missiles, missiles which decide the very fate of nation in a war, lives of you, me, our enemies, everyone in the nation.

No, Airline should NOT HAVE frisked Kalam or any VIP mentioned in the list issued by GOI. Nobody is above the law neither Abdual Kalam or Continental Airline. Airlines broke the law by frisking and deserve to be punished.

Kalam didn’t make hue cry, because he is not typical neta you hear about. Its shame on us and Govt if we ignored this incident.

Serving or not, Kalam should not frisked according to Indian Laws. Continental did that in India, not in US. Follow Indian Laws when you are in India.

Not just US President, it wouldn’t happen to any former VIPs in US.

Posted by Ajay | Report as abusive

Obviously the errors are related to personel and not an airline. It is not the head of a regional facilities decision to pull aside any indivual, rather than to implement protocol for searches and safety. All Americans do not believe India to be a place for terrorists, but they do recognize the ability for any aircraft to become a deadly instrument, wether it be on American or foreign soil. Indians should respect the fact that these policies are implemented for the safety of the world, not to spit its face.

For anyone to call this an outrage or demand an apology should first question the heritage of the indivual responsible for the decision to search him in the first place, NOT the airline. Your close minded comments signal to your own ignorance.

Perhaps you should be thanking the airlines for following protocol. Any individual could claim to be an official from any nation, and without proof, who is to believe it? Moroever than that, who from their own culture would not recognize this indivual, that person should be ashamed of themselves, and anyone who has attacked any other than the perpitrator should as well.

We Americans constantly chastise and punish our own officials when they break the law, and if they were not currently serving, and an indivual pulled them aside unknowing of their stature would, they would likely perform the same routines to our own officials.

Perhaps you all should try looking at the situation with your intuition rather than your prejudices, prejudices against your own citizens at that. No one deserves to be punished for doing their job, in my opinion, they deserve praise, for ensuring the safety of the world isn’t compromised by one nations absurd policies on exemptions.

None of this is to disrepsect the indivual of subject, rather than to deface your cries of ignorance. Why don’t you go ask Abdul Kalam how he feels of the situation.

Posted by Atma Manu | Report as abusive

JMM activists burn Hillary Clinton’s effigy. Hm?

Please realize the futility of your arguments if Kalam went to the airliner as a civilian, received his pass as a civilian, and went through the metal detector as a civilian. This wasn’t a diplomatic exchange. He didn’t prearrange to be treated differently, or attempt to verify himself of VVIP. Are you not considering the fact that maybe he didn’t care if he had to take off his shoes and walk through a metal detector to come to the US?

He wasn’t frisked. Frisking involves touching by the hands in completely inappropriate areas. He had a metal detector held away from his body. These are airport security guards we’re talking about – bored mindless, and concerned only with finding little bottles of liquid and metals. These people aren’t symbols of the American people, American diplomats, or American prejudices againsts Indians as a whole. If you really, really think they are, I don’t ever want to meet you. You seem ignorant.

I flew last week, and went through the same thing. I’m not an ex-prez, but the only way to guarantee ease of travel is to A)take a private flight, or b)if your a VVIP and want to be treated as one, arrange it. I’m convinced he didn’t mind at all! and it wasn’t about being polite. I say that because I also believe he is a great man.

That’s my piece.

Posted by Jackson | Report as abusive

I personally feel that, though this is an embarrassing act, still person like Kalam ji will not bother about such actions.

As he is an epitome of humbleness!

Posted by Swaroop | Report as abusive

It is not a matter of Kalam ji is offeneded or not. The matter is – the former President of India was searched against the protocol of the Government of India. Get it?

Posted by Johny | Report as abusive

The Continental security officer had violated protocol to be accorded to an ex-President, immediate ex-President of India, for that matter. This was done even after he was identified by the Indian security staff, who protested the security formalities for the former president of India. I am surprised that many people here argue that he is a civilian and on a private visit. In that case, Government of India (or any government for that matter) need not have issued any protocol instructions at all. Protocols are meant for giving priority and honor reserved for certain persons (including civilians, like Robert Vadhera, for special reasons) and functioning dignitaries. It is being followed all over the world. Continental Airlines had already been issued a list and formalities meant for protocol dignitaries. Continental Airlines could defend the decision of its security officer, only if it had a protested on the receipt of protocol advise from Govt of India. Otherwise it had violated Indian Law, despite its concern for rules of TSA. Continental can not violate Indian Laws in Indian soil. Hence Continental Airlines (or its security officer) had definitely committed willful violation of Indian Law. Hence CA becomes answerable to Indian Laws and should face consequences for the insensitive, arrogant and despicable action of its officers. Whoever holds Dr Kalam or President Clinton or President Bush as an ordinary citizen must have his/head head examined.

Posted by Kasthuri N Ravilla | Report as abusive

Continental should be slapped a very heavy financial penalty, may be 10 million US dollars, for the incident.
Continental’s argument that they are held accountable to TSA, is pure bullshit. TSA has no jurisdiction on Indian soil.

Posted by haresh | Report as abusive

the airline operations from india should be banned and fine to be imposed in such a way like $1000 for every indian (100 billion * $1000)

How the hell that bloody security officals (by the way who the hell are they to carrouyt security operations in india) there should be a new law where all the security acts at airports to be carried out by a special security force like RPF and no internatioanl airline staff to be allowd to carry security isssues

Posted by mangesh | Report as abusive

I dont think there is anything wrong with the regular security checks done at the airport. If any individual or any VIP for that matter want to be treated like one as acording to the Indian Govt.’s protocol he should make prior arrangements for it.
If CA had already got the list of individuals then its violation of Indian Law. and they just cant do it on Indian soil despite TSA rules.

Posted by NIITN SAINI | Report as abusive

I think Dr. Kalam should decide. He is such a humble person that he would never get offended by such things – in fact with his attitude of leading by examples, this incidence should be taken as a lesson by politicians and diplomats across the globe.

I understand the importance of being a VIP or VVIP, but why should they be treated differently from any other citizen of a country? We should not make this incidence an issue of national pride – Dr. Kalam would certainly not like it.

Posted by Kushal | Report as abusive

This is not about Dr Kalam being offended or not, it is also not about how the staff of the Continental Airlines behaved, IT IS about what the Airlines decided. Not the person, but THE COMPANY. Kalam was well recognised by the staff present there, CISF officers even protested Kalam’s being frisked (yes, he WAS frisked). He was again “body checked” just before boarding the plane, even after going through the normal security check-point and metal detectors etc. The matter went to the level of airlines’ country director and then the company decided that Kalam would be body checked. Even the so called apology issued yesterday by the airline speaks volumes about the mindset it is working with. Indian authorities issued a notice on July 9, to the airline on Protocol Violation and asked them to reply within 7 days. But the airline chose not to respond. Till yesterday they have not replied. They issued apology only after an uproar in the Indian media and Parliament. The apology itself clarifies that they don’t bother about Indian rules. I just give a portion of the apology for you to read.

This makes it clear that it is not about a mistake on the part of airlines staff, it is about there conscious decision to ignore Protocol issued by Indian Authorities. It also means that “unless the Indian regulations are made compatible to the US regulations, this will happen again.” They are knowingly violating Indian regulations on Indian soil. They are apologising about the “MISUNDERSTANDING AND/OR INCONVENIENCE RELATED TO THE SECURITY SCREENING” and not even accepting their mistake, let alone regret it. This is high-headedness and contempt of Indian laws.

Posted by viplav | Report as abusive

Would Continental frisk any ex-american president?

Posted by Suman | Report as abusive

July 22nd, 2009 12:37 pm GMT – Posted by Benito M

Perhaps there should be more Indian “outrage” at poverty in the nation or the very suspicious Mumbai attack which smells of CIA/Mossad.=====

Benito, FYI the terrorist who got caught in mumbai terror just confessed and he does acknowledge that he is from pakistan. I think you are just not out of date with news but you are out of touch with reality to suggest that mumbai attack smells of cia/mossad. i know you can believe whatever you want but I suggest you give the retarded brain of yours some rest. probably it might think sense after that.

Posted by vivek | Report as abusive

Its very simple..As long as the same Airlines maintains this protocols to other American VVIP’s such as Bush, Obama, H Clinton and etc.

Else let the Indian Security personals should do the so called frisk for those US VIP while they visit India.

Posted by Srini | Report as abusive

The complete matter has troubled and made us Indians look like idiots and without any power to put their foot down in this embarrassing situation where a former president and one of the best presidents India ever had and also as a individual who has a lot of knowledge and source of pride to all Indians where ever they may stay. This makes us all Indians who live around the globe go with only one policy make a decision not to travel themselves or allow any of there associated people or companies travel on Continental Airlines and discourage even others by making them aware of the behavior of the Airline management and their policies which will bring down their revenues and bring them to understand that they cannot mess around with one of the most growing nation in the world.

Posted by Yunus Baxamusa | Report as abusive

It is not about a person being VVIP or not. It is about protocol and thats it. Indian law (Bureau Of Civil Aviation Security “BCAS” in this case) has a set of guidelines for people being exempt from frisking.

Continental cannot follow TSA guidelines in India because TSA has no jurisdiction in India. It has to follow BCAS regulations. If the airliner finds it tough, they are free to packup and leave. But you just cannot disregard another country’s rules on thier soil and show disrespect to thier Ex-president.

Continental, please count me out of your list of customers

Posted by Wooferswitch | Report as abusive

This is another example of Western Companies especially Airline companies treating any body without white skin as terrorists especially people of Asian origin and/or has a muslim name.

Just can’t understand the mindset of these people in the 21st Century.

Mr. Kalam was just not an Ex-president of the largest true democracy of the World but was also a highly respected Scientist.

Continetal Airlines get your facts right.

Posted by Sandeep | Report as abusive

You would think someone kicked a cow or something…who cares?

Posted by cennis | Report as abusive

Why was he flying Continental to begin with?

Posted by Emily | Report as abusive


Posted by ELI | Report as abusive

what would have happened if bush have been frisked think carefully and reply I know most people may say Yes but one has to understand that some people should be trated with more respect because of their devotion and support to the country. Think what have you done to the country before you say Yes. I agree that all the poloticians have to be frisked as they all are corrupt where as an President of india theoretically speakibg isnt a polotician. he isnt elected by pople. they become because of their commitment to the country.

Posted by ismail | Report as abusive

kabhi kabhaar lagta hai ki wartmaan sirkar mein US ka jabardast khauf hai, when it comes to US related affairs, itni jyada darpok pana dekhne ko mil raha hai ki poochiye mat..hamari Pakistan ke prati kya ravayya ho, ye US decide karega ham 26/11 jaisi ghatnaoan ka liye man mashosh ke baithe rahein…ye sab cheezein US decide karega…ham kewal kathputli ban ke rah gaye hain, jiski dor US ke haath mein hai….Business growth aur economic prospertiy ke naam pe ham bike se jaa rahe hain, sara swabhimaan, economic prosperity ke naam pe bech ja diya jane laga hai..bahut jyada atma-chintan ka waqt aa chuka hai…hamein apne swabhimaan ka bhi dhyaan rahe, ye hamein bhoolna nahin chaiye….kewal economy hi sab khuch nahin…deshabhimaan, swabhimaan bhi kuch valuable gun bhoolein nahin….is particular ghatna ke virodh mein sirkaar ko turant CA ka licence revoke kar dena chaiye.

Niz Bhasa Unnati Ahe, Sab Unnati Ko Mool…. Jai Bharat!!

Posted by Bulle Shah | Report as abusive

OK, so let me get this straight. The Indian people are upset because a dignitary was wanded. Not frisked, wanded. This dignitary didn’t object, was cooperative, and at no point said there may be a problem. He goes on with his US diplomatic trip, and waits 3 months to complain to Continental.

See, we had this thing about 8 years ago where several thousand people were killed because a couple dozen weren’t screened. Former President Kalam boards an aircraft bound FOR THE SAME CITY, in an aircraft larger than the ones that destroyed two skyscrapers, and complains three months after the fact that he was screened. And after all of this, they’re calling the Americans arrogant?

I’m sympathetic to the custom of your dignitaries not being wanded by security. Please be sympathetic to our custom of not allowing people to fly airplanes into our buildings.

If this dignitary is so great that he can’t be touched and can’t speak up when he is, then perhaps the Indian government should pony up for a private aircraft.

Until then, take your shoes off, empty your pockets, and hold your arms out.


What’s the big deal here?

Posted by Tennessee Bob | Report as abusive

Well it only depends on person to person ,,, Mr. Kalam ia a down to earth person, and is a soul conscious man,, It would not have irritated him at all when he was being frisked… and if all the indians are really worried about he being frisked then why dont we give him a private Aircraft ?? so that there is no problem at all??
Atleast we all can do that for our former President!!!

Posted by CPC | Report as abusive


Posted by BAL | Report as abusive

First of all kalam was bording a plane in a country of which he was president. Continental is an American airline company who is in India to make money through Indian passengers. India has its own rule about who are exempt from frisking. Contenental has no right to break that rule. They not only degraded a highest authority in India who is widely respected among all coummunities in India but were not applogetic despite breaking the Indian law. Continental should be kicked out of India if it fails to comply by Indian law and has no respect for Indian leaders in their own country. I personally will never ever fly in continental and I think thats what every Indian should do…just make sure you never ever fly with continental.

Posted by Ab | Report as abusive

if the question was should mrKalm be frisked with only yes or no annswer as in court the ans is no.Mr kalam is a great gentlemand didnot object at that time and didnot meke a fuss over it.only third paties do these thingslike calling for arrests of people who did itpoor staffwho did their part unnessarilygetting the “shoe thrown at them.Govt of indis list of people no to examined is prewtty long.impractical will get into future problems.i wwould like some one to explin to me what all the other countries rules regadinfg vvip person.I am sure many of the people mentioned in some letters like clinton or big cabinet ministors or members of congrss etc etc had gone tothrough metal detectors some time or most of the time. govt should have smaller list of people for vvip personand the airlines could have been informed ahed of time his arrival.If airlines still insist on frisking him that is another problemIn India every tom dick and harry wants tobe in non friskable list. the list probably get bigger and biggerwherre is the end if every countrydoes the same as to their vvip peson list thereis going tobe no end,the ex president was very grcious in submitting to this . the air line HAS apolagised.Of course they have to justify their conduct.Let govt of india do some thing about it . if the airlinesrefuse let vvip take another air line. My last question is what is the rule for some one like kalam or like former president clinton who is trvelling in usa does he or she walk throgh metal detector take his shoes off not carry sharp objects emties his pocket etc. plese some one enlighten me or others


A quick Google search shows that Al Gore has been frisked twice. Stop making this a color issue.

Posted by Sam Ray | Report as abusive

No, he should absolutely not be frisked or hindered in any way. Even ambassadors I believe go unhindered!!

The Indian govt should lodge proper complaints with the US government. Typically, it will be ignored.

If it is indeed ignored, no apology and correction within 48 hrs, NOBODY should fly on the Continental Airlines. Few months of empty flights will hit the pocket book and correct the brazen impudence of the CA management and executives.

These American companies mistreat other countries. I believe Union Carbide only paid peanuts for the Bhopal disaster(s). How many lives and generations have been destroyed by the American attitude.

Posted by Roger | Report as abusive

Give this airline its dues.
Don’t fly with Continental. Teach them a lesson.

Posted by Rahul | Report as abusive

he is no better than me, if i get frisked so does he.


stop flying continental airlines that is how we show our respect to former president and a great scientist, and air france for stranding indians for 28 hours in paris Jai Hind

Posted by Rakesh | Report as abusive

India should be leading the world and not lagging it. Each and every person need to be frisked before flight. However if the security recognize a person or are told that he is ex-president he can be minimally frisked and they should focus their attention more on suspicious characters.


We cannot have double standards concerning security. If the security feels a person must be frisked, his word should be the law at that point. In fact, I am dissappointed that Kalam did not come out and say that the airlines was just doing their duty. Shows that the king vs commoner mentality is alive and well in India at all levels.

Posted by Raman | Report as abusive

It’s unfortunate that this happened. However, it seems Kalam did not resist being frisked and did not complain about it. This shows the former president still considers himself an ordinary Indian citizen, not one of our so-called VIPs who delay flights, threaten to get officials transferred and generally end up irritating other passengers.

During a train journey to Kerala several years ago, our co-passenger turned out to be a sitting Lok Sabha MP from Bihar. We found he had disembarked during the night, pocketing one of the towels provided to AC-tier passengers. The next morning the railway attendant came to collect blankets and towels, didn’t believe our version of the story and forced us to pay for the missing towel.

It wasn’t the money that bothered me, it was how that VIP got away with it. And how such VIPs continue to do as they wish even today.

Posted by Toe Knee | Report as abusive

All should be frisked. Just because you have darker skin should not make you exempt. Get over it

Posted by dave | Report as abusive

I am not an Indian National, but I am as mad as hell. I even can recognize Prez Kalam. That is total disrespect for a person of Pres Kalam’s stature. Heads should roll…and I am not sure how high up!

Mad as hell..


This one for Mr. Dirk, who posted his comment on July 24th, 2009 12:02 pm GMT:

Dear Dirk… you mentioned that in wake of NY skyscrapers (which indeed were the great pride of all Americans) tragedy due to airlines security lapse, all passengers should be frisked irresp. of stature and post… then plz answer this: Our Indian parliament (all Indians pride) was attacked by same anti-peace group who hit NY towers in same year 2001, so should we frisk all American dignitaries before allowing them to enter into our Parliament premises??? Just imagine how reaction would have been when Hillary Clinton (who recently visited India around same time as this incident) been security-screened! So, plz plz don’t quote and relate such high “sensitive” and “emotional” incidents of NY to this mishap. Even though I.m of full support that ALL should be screened and checked, but plz get UN approval and make it universal-law. Thank You

Posted by Sumeet Jain | Report as abusive

Well at least some one somewhere is following the laws of their land. Indian laws cease to be effective once you leave the terminal, and the US laws come into play. Cynthia was being conscientious. The fault is entirely of the Indian authorities who should have sorted out the issue and the confusion which was waiting to happen.

India has the right that its ex-head of state should be allowed his dignity but it is Indian government rather than a US airline which needs to be solicitous about that.

Posted by indian-to-the-roots | Report as abusive

I do not think there is much room for a debate here. If we respect US Dignitaries, they ought to respect our’s. Let them get this straight..the sooner the better!
I agree with Sumeet here. We had a similar (or even more terrific) attack on Taj Hotel in Mumbai where Hillary Clinton stayed a week back, so does that mean we start frisking her. Had you liked her getting frisked by hotel officials all the time on way to her suite?

Again, I’m in strong favour of making security checks more stringent for the safety of all. So, lets accept and make this law universal for all VIPs and VVIPs or forget it.

Posted by Anmol | Report as abusive

I am surprised that the Protocol Officials accompanying Dr. Abdul Kalam had not briefed airline staff suitably. No airline operating in another country can ignore the official exemptions applied in that country.I believe each and every nation has similar exemptions.
The airline staff have acted out of ignorance and overzealousness, and discretion should have been exercised and the ex-President and Head of State should not have been subjected to frisking – unless there were specific grounds for suspecting him. I believe that at times, certain people act dumbly and routinely out of sheer ignorance and lack of judgement. The Airline should have apologised promptly and graciously!

Posted by L. Swain | Report as abusive

It’ s A shame for our nation.

Posted by G M Bahuguna | Report as abusive

Ye koi acchi baat nahin hai…

Posted by Atal Bhaisaab | Report as abusive

Clearly, Kalam has no style. Instead of just letting them get away with it and just pouting about it, he should do what this one North American guy did when United Airlines broke his guitar when he flew with them recently. He’s written a song about it and posted it on youtube. It’s quite good, has a lot of hits and is making United look bad. zo
Yes – it’s not racial – American run airlines treat everyone terrible.

Posted by Richard Moorman | Report as abusive

Yes it was a breach of protocol and the airlines proved it by offering an apology later. Dr. Kalam is not only the former President of India but a evry renowned scientist and intellectuals of our country.
@ Raman, if you cant trust your own president for security then u have no right to live on this land. It is a total breach of protocol, i’m sure george bush or even musharaf for that matter go thru the security check. this was an utterly disgusting incident.

Posted by r | Report as abusive

What does Dr. Kalam’s cat eat? Friskies

Posted by Richard | Report as abusive

The word “frisking” has mildly violent connotations, and should not be used in this context. When a person goes to the doctor to get an EKG done, shirt and shoes come off, and the doctor sticks elctrodes all over, but the doctor hasn’t “frisked” that person, its just part of the process.

I have the highest regard for Dr. Kalam. In this case, however – can the Indian governent gaurantee the safety of his baggage and belongings through the entire chain of custody? The IGI airport has literally no securtity uptil checkin (anyone with a printout of an e-ticket can get in). If the terrorists get a hold of this VIP list, all VIPs can be easy targets in the Indian airports. All the terrorists have to do is slip in an explosive device or a cellphone bomb into the carry-on luggage or even checked luggage of these VIPs, KNOWING that they will skip security. VIPs are humans too – they take off their coat when it gets hot and hang it on the back of the seat while in the waiting area, they go to the bathromm and can’t always keep a wathful eye on all their belongings.

On a lighter (pun) note – do all VIPs understand the rules of flying? What if a VIP who smokes has a lighter or matches in the checked luggage. The security procedures take care of all these inadvertant mistakes – are we to trust all VIPs with the safety of perhaps 300 passengers in a 777?

The diginity of VIPs is not more fragile than the dignity of the common passenger – and I’m happy Dr. Kalam seems to agree. We can have a parallel process for VIPs. But then we also need to have a VIP dignity-protecting EKG m/c that can take readings w/o frisking.

Posted by East Coast Indian | Report as abusive

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