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Home > News > PTI

Tamil-speaking man sparks security alert in Seattle

October 03, 2006 20:23 IST

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A Tamil-speaking man in the US missed his flight from Seattle over the weekend because at least one person thought he was suspicious.

According to a report in Seattle Post Intelligencer, the man was speaking Tamil and some English in a conversation over his cellphone about a sporting rivalry when getting ready to board an American Airlines flight to Dallas' Fort Worth International Airport.

An off-duty airline employee heard the conversation and alerted the flight crew.

"It's a big misunderstanding," said Bob Parker, the airport spokesman. "He had a perfectly innocent explanation that all added up."

The spokesman noted that it was mandatory for airport officials to investigate reports of suspicious activity. The man was supposed to be talking of a sporting rivalry involving his alma mater.

Parker had no explanation as to why a man speaking Tamil would be considered suspicious. The person who contacted airport officials could give an answer to that question, he added.

The detained person was said to be cooperative and later boarded a flight to Texas. He reportedly told airport officials that he will not speak a foreign language on his cellphone at an airport in the future.

© Copyright 2006 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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Number of User Comments: 4

Sub: tamil speaking.....

Hi, It isn't that there is something wrong about tamil,it could have been the same with most other languages (which that official couldnt understand!)probably.Taking into ...

Posted by pradeep

Sub: Language

It is not appropriate for Rediff to explicitly magnify a particular language in such cases. Tomorrow it could be a hindi speaking person,or a gujarati ...

Posted by sarath

Sub: Ridiculous!

"He said he will not speak a foreign language at an airport in the future"? Ridiculous! How meek can we get? We'll speak whatever language ...

Posted by Harish

Sub: Sheer Stupidity on the part of the officials

It does not seem to make sense to hold a guy just because he speaks Tamil and he could be held as suspicious. Many people ...

Posted by R.Prabhu



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