Akhilesh Yadav at the Kumbh Mela (File pic)
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today cancelled his lecture at Harvard, hours before he was to speak at the prestigious business school in the US, in protest against his senior minister Azam Khan being detained and questioned for some time after they landed at the Boston Airport yesterday.
Mr Khan alleged in a statement issued on his behalf by his personal assistant that US homeland security officials humiliated him on the pretext of frisking him. He alleged that he was singled out because he is a Muslim. The minister, who holds the urban development and parliamentary affairs portfolios in UP and is one of the senior-most members of the Samajwadi Party, alleged that he was detained in the immigration chamber for more than an hour.
"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 said.
External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said India has asked its embassy in Washington to take up the matter appropriately with the US authorities.
Mr Yadav, Mr Khan and Abhishek Mishra, Minister of State for Science and Technology in UP, were scheduled to deliver lectures on organising the Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad and the challenges faced by the administration in managing millions of people from across the world who attended the mega event, billed as the biggest religious congregation in the world, from January 14-March 12 this year.
Neither of them will attend the session now and will leave Boston several hours before their scheduled departure, sources said, adding, UP's chief secretary Jawed Usmani will make a
presentation on behalf of the Chief Minister.