India's top diplomat to the UN Hardeep Puri today sought to downplay the incident involving him at the Houston Airport in Texas, saying he did not allow removal of his turban nor was he patted down.
"No pat down took place," Puri told Press Trust of India reacting to reports that he was humiliated and that he was asked to remove his turban during a security check a month ago.
Describing the incident, he said the security officials did indeed ask to check his turban.
Puri then told the guards that he was aware of the new rules, which allowed him to check his own turban and the guards could then swipe his hands to check for any metal traces.
"I said I would comply with the procedures but did not allow them to touch my turban," he said.
"The guard there was unaware of the new procedures so I told him to go check with his superior officer," he said.
The security officials then proceeded to go and check with his senior, which took about 20 to 25 minutes and Puri kept waiting.
When the official returned, he acknowledged that indeed there was such a provision and Puri was able to check his own turban.
"The important thing here is that I did not let them touch my turban," he said, adding that the guards were doing their job.
When Puri went through the scanner, there was no beep.