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India Strongly Protests Netherlands' Handling of Air Security Scare Arrests

  • VOA News

India has lodged a strong protest against the Netherlands' handling of an air security scare that resulted in the detention of 12 Indian nationals.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman in New Delhi Navtej Sarna says the incident did not conform to the friendly relations between the two countries.

Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman Dirk-Jan Vermeij told VOA Friday by phone from The Hague that reports of the Dutch ambassador apologizing were false and that "at no point did the ambassador express regret, apologize or make excuses" about the incident.

He said authorities at The Hague are in the process of clarifying which measures were taken and why.

Dutch authorities released the men after finding no evidence of a terrorist threat onboard the U.S. airliner flying from Amsterdam to Mumbai formerly known as Bombay. The men are due back home in India later in the day.

A US congressional delegation to the Netherlands confirmed that US air marshals had helped the flight crew and that they handled the incident correctly.

Relatives of the men say authorities arrested them because they all are Muslims.

The airplane turned around in mid-air Wednesday after the crew reported that some passengers were behaving suspiciously. Witnesses said the men had a large number of cell phones, refused to follow the crew's instructions, and were changing seats.

This air security scare comes about two weeks after British police revealed an alleged plot to blow up several US-bound flights.

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