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Iraj detained in Chennai

23 June 2010 07:18 am - 79     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


By Jamila Najmuddin

Popular Sri Lankan singer and music producer Iraj Weeraratne says he was unfairly detained at the Chennai Airport for over six hours today and later released without an apology by the Indian immigration officials.

Speaking to Daily Mirror online from Chennai a short while ago Iraj said that he had landed in Chennai to receive the ‘Best Song of the Year Award’ for one of his songs which he had produced with Vijay Anthony and also attend the music launch of an upcoming South Indian movie in which he had composed and produced a song.

However he said as soon as he landed at the Chennai Airport at 4 this morning, the Immigration officer on duty had checked his passport and questioned him whether he was a Sinhalese or Tamil.

After stating he was a Sinhalese, Iraj said that the Immigration officer had raised his voice and asked him what he was doing in their country and had scolded him in front of the other passengers present causing an embarrassing situation.

“He first asked me whether I was a Sinhalese or Tamil. When I told him I was a Sinhalese, he asked me why I had come to their country. He did not allow me to talk and just kept scolding me,” Iraj said.

While the scolding continued, Iraj had questioned the officer as to why he could not come to Chennai when he held a valid Indian visa to which the officer immediately summoned all the other Immigration officers present and falsely accused Iraj of arguing with him and scolding him.

He was then immediately taken into a room by the officer and detained for over six hours without an explanation. The officer had also told him that he would lodge a police complaint against Iraj.

“While in the room, the officer just kept shouting at me and hitting the tables. He did not allow me to speak. Other officers were also present. He also told me he would lodge a police complain against me saying that I had shouted at him. He told me I could not come into his country and do what I wanted as I had to follow their rules as it was their land. This all started because I told him I was a Sinhalese,” Iraj said.

Iraj who has traveled to Chennai several times before, said that this was the first time such an incident had occurred and will lodge a complaint with the relevant authorities upon his return to Colombo. (Daily Mirror online)


  Comments - 79

  • Rabana Wednesday, 23 June 2010 07:44 PM

    Look out for Indian workers in Sri Lanka! Sri Lankans, keep sleeping - all your top positions will some day be taken by them! Do not grumble or complain thereafter.

    jeena Thursday, 24 June 2010 04:42 AM

    well said Ajith, we Sinhalese make a big fuss when we are harassed by other nationals...but do we ever wonder how the Tamils in our own country feel when they are humiliated and harassed by govt officials, police...bus drivers & conductors... Chennai is pure tamil community and they feel a lot for the tamils in srilanka

    jeena Thursday, 24 June 2010 04:37 AM

    thats right... we sri lankans enjoy too much comfort and waste lots of time even to get little things done... wake-up and work-up its time to save your job and your country.

    jeena Thursday, 24 June 2010 04:35 AM

    the officer is against awful remixing of classic tamil & hindi music. Maybe iraj expected red-carpet treatment since he thinks he is a mega-star...sorry dude times have changed !!

    Kasper Thursday, 24 June 2010 04:21 AM

    We are listening to one side of a story, we don't know what exactly happened. if U.S can detain Sharuk Khan as he is THE SUPER STAR and all world knows him. i don't know why we are making a big fuss on this. We need to respect the rules and regulations the countries have imposed on tourists.

    Ryan Thursday, 24 June 2010 04:02 AM

    Chennai people are better than some people in Kelaniya

    sheweer Thursday, 24 June 2010 03:57 AM

    i feel sorry about indians

    Rattapakse Wednesday, 23 June 2010 09:54 PM

    Just stand behind a Tamil person, at the Colombo airport, to see the same treatment being metted-out.

    khodus Wednesday, 23 June 2010 09:12 PM

    Indians, don't ever visit Sri Lanka!

    Hud Wednesday, 23 June 2010 07:53 PM

    Every Indian government officer is supposed to treat incoming people nicely, or at least humanely.

    Bob Thursday, 24 June 2010 04:44 AM

    It happened to me when I came to SL after 15 years. I was detained for 5.5 hours for no reasons other than I was a Tamil. I'm not saying what happened to Iraj was right but why cannot you people understand it happened and is still happening in SL! Why do you need to turn a blind eye when it happens to someone other than a non-Sinhalese??

    Hash Wednesday, 23 June 2010 07:23 PM


    Kamal Wednesday, 23 June 2010 06:47 PM

    We get this treatment because we let ourselves 'dance to their tunes,' when they are in our country!

    ajit Wednesday, 23 June 2010 01:03 PM

    yes dont give them a on arrival visa

    Wasantha Wednesday, 23 June 2010 01:01 PM

    well said.

    saman Wednesday, 23 June 2010 12:18 PM

    For so manny years i go to chennai and other cities , never had a issue ... could be one of the case and that too 4 in the morning !!

    Ajith Wednesday, 23 June 2010 12:10 PM

    I feel sorry for Iraj... but does he know that this is what Tamil people had to go through for years in their own country....

    shashank Wednesday, 23 June 2010 12:10 PM

    It HURTS isn't it when you are treated like a dog, simply because you are from a different race

    Accra Wednesday, 23 June 2010 11:44 AM

    I dont blame them as they would have seen the attitude in you as you need to smile once in a while

    Aishwarya Wednesday, 23 June 2010 11:21 AM

    Wow man. For real? I would have demanded an apology.

    On the one hand, it's reassuring that security is that tight because if it weren't I believe there are still people out there ready and aching to cause some real damage....

    Don't take this the wrong way. I will never have to go through that because I am an Indian woman from Chennai who's never been anywhere so I can't imagine what it's
    like to be treated like that.

    But It's just good to know that the security is maintained, I'm sorry if I sound rude.. but i mean we just don't want another tragedy to happen anywhere in India. Because of what is happening in the world.. because of what has been
    going on we do have to be careful.

    Zuffee Thursday, 24 June 2010 06:34 AM

    My wife & child had to go through a similar thing for 2 hours in Katunayake simply because the immigration officer was drunk. May be Chennai also follows the strict rules like us while recruiting!!!!!!!!!!!

    invictusrilankan Thursday, 24 June 2010 03:37 PM

    ...So what??? Just because he has some videos with nice cars and good lookin' women should the whole world let him go through all it's airports??? Please... There are bigger things than you man!!!

    SL Thursday, 24 June 2010 01:33 PM

    Shouting at people and detaining them for no reason will not assure security, it only creates more people who view your country in a negative light. If you look at the US security officers, you'll see how it should be done. They are exceptionally polite to every person, but they do an exceptional job in terms of cecking. And they give people reasonable explantions for most of their questions.

    SL Thursday, 24 June 2010 01:25 PM

    But I assume when you came to Sri Lanka there was a war in the country involving an internationally renowned terrorist group. It was unfortunate that innocent Tamils had to endure needless discomfort at airports/checkpoints, but they were measures that had to be taken for national security. Iraj's case is a different story, Sri Lankans are not waging war against India.

    Zulfi Thursday, 24 June 2010 09:41 AM

    Hi, Iraj don't worry or make vergy big issue of what happend to you. Did you know the Great Scientist and the Former President of India DR.ABUL KALAM also faced much more than this at U.S . Airport. You may be a known singer in Sri Lanka but compare to Dr. Kalam....please...

    MM Thursday, 24 June 2010 09:08 AM

    May be Iraj is UNP or JVP Supporter

    priyanka Thursday, 24 June 2010 08:17 AM

    same thing happens when tamils travel in Colombo.

    mavericksllk Thursday, 24 June 2010 07:59 AM

    What are you mr.Kanasamay. Of course for me Sinhala music is better than tamil 1000 fold, it would be the same for a tamil, tamil music better than sinhalese.

    mahesh Thursday, 24 June 2010 07:48 AM

    this will give us a feel as to how innocent tamils would have felt (i mean, only INNOCENT ones) when they were given the same treatment in our country....

    Because of the LTTE both sinhala and tamil people are still suffering,,,,

    Krishnakumar Thursday, 24 June 2010 07:23 AM

    Dear Iraj

    You are lucky, being Tamil we are affected always, I have been to India many time, I have been held in the Indian Air port and same in Sri-lanka. if you are a Tamil you are treated as LTTE this happens, we have to live with it.
    Don’t worry by Happy

    Tamil Wednesday, 23 June 2010 11:18 AM

    Tamils were not asked that as you hb and thushi... some of the tamils moved to unknown locations and no idea where they are.. Dont you all know how tamils ask questions in all city check points just with ID when they see name written in tamils.. :-)

    Dulan Thursday, 24 June 2010 06:22 AM

    As has rarely happened to other Sinhalese including myself visiting Chennai it is safe to conclude Iraj's attitude had a bearing on this. It is also true that Sinhalese must become more sensitive to how Tamils are treated in their own country

    Shevon Thursday, 24 June 2010 05:46 AM

    Thank you very much for this comment. Other than this it was all hatred towards each other on this forum. Thanks bro.

    Mayroon Thursday, 24 June 2010 05:39 AM

    This will be norm in 6 months.

    Sunil Dissanaike Thursday, 24 June 2010 05:30 AM

    Will our PONTING Foreign Minister who talks about dyanmism to pragmatism take these issues with the Indian govt? It is a well known truth that the Indian HC in Colombo does not give proper visas to Sinhalese married to Indians. What are our Ministries doing with these HCs here?

    Edwardo Baltazar Thursday, 24 June 2010 05:18 AM

    Why our are foreign ministry officials silent!! they should notify this sort of harrasment to the relevant authorities......

    TMA Thursday, 24 June 2010 05:16 AM

    maybe, it's cos of his baggy clothes. They would have thought he's carrying weapons

    Michael Thursday, 24 June 2010 05:14 AM

    I am an Indian travelling often to colombo. Even though I am ocasionally questioned in colombo Airport, I don't feel humiliated as the moto of the question is to ascertain my purpose of my travel.
    Here in this case I feel sorry for Iraj, he should not be questioned as there is no fear of terrorism from Sri Lankans. May be the officer was racist.

    The credit for this ugly episode should go to Indian media who highlight the plight of the tamils showing sinhalese in a negative character.

    Even though I am Tamil, I like Sri Lankans (tamil and Sinhalese). It is the media which causes the hostility.

    As an Indian I seek apology for the wrong attitude of the officer.

    UJ Thursday, 24 June 2010 05:09 AM

    I have travelled to almost every part of the world, and in my experience the worst ever Immigration Officer I have seen is in India. When they see a Sri Lankan passport holder, they take us for granted.

    jeena Thursday, 24 June 2010 04:45 AM

    yes, maybe its IRAJ's ATTITUDE that got the office all charged up..

    AWW Wednesday, 23 June 2010 08:16 AM

    We must listen to the Immigration officer as well and come for a conclusion.

    JEM D Wednesday, 23 June 2010 10:04 AM

    Why did you say you were a Sinhalese. We who are from sri Lanka are Sri Lankans.

    Remember this the next time.

    sam Wednesday, 23 June 2010 10:00 AM

    After effects of IIFA

    lankaman Wednesday, 23 June 2010 09:58 AM

    Agreed 100%.

    1st step STOP on arrival visa for Indians

    dinesh Wednesday, 23 June 2010 09:58 AM

    Tamils in India are being duped by politicians saying that Sinhalese are treating tamils with discrimination. It is growing these days especially in Tamilnadu.
    It is not the fault of Tamils or Sinhalese but a few crooked politicians for their personal benefits. When will this end ?

    Dheen Wednesday, 23 June 2010 09:02 AM

    This is a very serious matter. Iraj is one who is closely working with Indian Artistes and I think this should be referred to the Indian High Commission Colombo for immediate action and an apology sought for the manner he was treated. The officer concerned has displayed racism in a crude manner.

    Upul Wednesday, 23 June 2010 08:33 AM

    You buy a ticket, go the Chennai and listen to him. And make your conclusion. No body will care to know what your conclusion is.

    hb Wednesday, 23 June 2010 08:29 AM

    did the officer who detained you tell you that "you cannot come to my country because you belong to a different race"

    SRI LANKAN Wednesday, 23 June 2010 08:26 AM

    Hope at least now the eyes of mad politicians will open. Any joker from India can walk in to Sri Lanka and enter with on arrival visa. When we want to travel before issuing visa 100 questions were asked and then at the entry point with valid visa in hand this type of harrsment. This is not the First and the Last too.

    nsk Wednesday, 23 June 2010 08:20 AM

    its a shame on india.wel after doing so much for the south indian cinema. even when vijay antony won the award he never mentioned iraj`s name. out of the top 5 songs 2 of them were done by sri lankans. they are just ripping us off. we should show the world what really we can do in the music industry.

    mee Wednesday, 23 June 2010 10:04 AM

    Chennai Air Port is the worst AIR PORT IN THE WORLD.

    Raj Wednesday, 23 June 2010 08:16 AM

    it happened to me also ... but i was questioned whether i have any contacts with LTTE ... as i am a tamil ... but for every ones knowledge all key costumes officers in Chennai air port are hindi (north indian) guys ... small officers are only from tamil nadu ... may be the hindy indians wants another war in sri lanka coz we are doing bigger business with china !

    Wisdom Wednesday, 23 June 2010 08:12 AM

    Will the UN investigate this??

    Gemba Wednesday, 23 June 2010 08:07 AM

    Let's put a red carpet to TN artists!

    wahoo Wednesday, 23 June 2010 08:06 AM

    This is what happens when the law makers suck up to the indians....

    athula Wednesday, 23 June 2010 08:06 AM

    god sake .....dont ruin their songs

    hb Wednesday, 23 June 2010 08:04 AM

    TamilNadu folks are generally not racists. This officer must be an exception

    Roshan Wednesday, 23 June 2010 08:04 AM

    Incredible India !

    D Wednesday, 23 June 2010 08:04 AM

    Wow. Racist!!!

    Abdul Wednesday, 23 June 2010 08:03 AM

    Has Tamil Nadu got independence from India?

    Mushi Wednesday, 23 June 2010 10:52 AM

    Dubai bus stand is better than chennai airport!!!

    man lanka Wednesday, 23 June 2010 11:17 AM

    there arn't much differnt with SL immigration (Jealous ppl)

    Sinhala kolla Wednesday, 23 June 2010 11:16 AM

    tamil nadu is a isolated place,very reserved ppl not in to the outer world.always talk big about genocide and racism they are the worst.

    Ragu Wednesday, 23 June 2010 11:15 AM

    This not just for Sinhalese, they jst treat any Sri lankan like that. They are animals in white shirt. They must take training from Sri Lankan officers. I am a tamil and visited Sri Lanka recently from UK and ver impressed with the treatment by th officers in Colombo Airport.

    sandman Wednesday, 23 June 2010 11:12 AM

    This case and other incidents should prompt our Indian fawning politicians and this government, TO IMMEDIATELY stop issuing visas to INDIANS on entry. they should also learn like us, how to wait in lines, answer innumerable questions and wait for the stamp on their passports. All this Trade agreements and such are all fake and just benefit India and Indians only.

    untitled Wednesday, 23 June 2010 11:11 AM

    i heard all indian airport services r like dat... total C-R-A-P!!!

    Straightforward Wednesday, 23 June 2010 11:05 AM

    Why do you guys make such a big hue and cry over this minor immigration matter. You guys don't know what is happening here in Katunayake Airport. Comparatively, this is not even worth becoming a news. My God! When is all this going to end and we live like ordinary people!!

    Roshan Wednesday, 23 June 2010 11:04 AM

    Howmany times Tamils been humiliated in the colombo airport? I seen it few times!

    deen Wednesday, 23 June 2010 11:01 AM

    A Nadu which no Indian would like to visit. You needn't check with any Sri Lankan, check with any one who's from a different state. They will tell you the Tamil Nadu mentallity more.

    abdulmajeed Wednesday, 23 June 2010 11:01 AM

    Sinhalese getting a taste of what they do to their brothers tamils and muslims in sri lanka, in their own motherland, at least iraj is lucky he is not treated that way in sri lanka.

    MagodisThuma Wednesday, 23 June 2010 07:59 AM

    My Name Is Iraj & I'm Not A Terrorist !.

    Ram Wednesday, 23 June 2010 10:49 AM

    What goes around comes around!!! stop seeings tamils as terrorists at kattunayake....

    thushi Wednesday, 23 June 2010 10:48 AM

    reasonable question, did you have contacts? unlike Iraj you weren't told to get out were you?

    Karthik Wednesday, 23 June 2010 10:47 AM

    This will end only when you punish the real war criminals

    Mohamed Shafraz Wednesday, 23 June 2010 10:47 AM

    It shows Indians haven't civilized yet

    Padhman Wednesday, 23 June 2010 10:45 AM

    Take it easy. u can see so many uneducated people like him in Chennai. but not all. there r so many gentlemen as well.
    if u gave one rupee to that officer he would have called u sir.that is how some people r working.

    Dheen Wednesday, 23 June 2010 10:37 AM

    JEM D - I thank you for your beautiful comment. You are absolutely right. We are Sri Lankans like the others proudly call themselves as Indians, British, Americans, Chinese, Japenese etc.,

    Kanasamay Wednesday, 23 June 2010 10:23 AM

    are u saying Sinhala music is better than Tamil
    What where are u mate

    prasan Wednesday, 23 June 2010 10:20 AM

    May be custom officer thinks 80% of Sri Lankans are Tamils not 8%.Eraj , Please forgive this officer, you cannot change DRAVIDIAN mentality, thats why North Indians are Masters & enjoy all resources of India.

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