By Jamila Najmuddin
June 23-2010: Popular Sri Lankan singer and music producer Iraj Weeraratne says he was unfairly detained at the Chennai Airport for over six hours, Wednesday, and later released without an apology by the Indian immigration officials
Speaking to Daily Mirror online from Chennai 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)