Mishandling of our sacred food (Tirupathi Prasadam) by Qatar Airways

Friends, I am trying to highlight an issue regarding how the Qatar agents at Doha airport mis-handled our sacred food of "Laddu" from the Tirumala/Tirupathi temple. We were traveling from Hyderabad, India to Houston, TX, USA with transit point in Doha, Qatar on 16th March, 2013. Based on reviewing multiple flight guidelines from the TSA (Tranportation Security Administration), European Union, Qatar websites, etc., this food is not a banned item. Being a non-liquid/non-gel product, it can be carried as either hand-baggage or check-in. Our hand-baggage went through multiple x-ray checkpoints successfully already (at Hyderabad airport, and also at the 1st X-ray checkpoint at Doha, Qatar airport). However, at the final checkpoint in Doha (just before we board the plane), the Qatar agent opened our hand baggage without any of us being present, and threw away the prasadam into a trash can without even showing it to us. He just waved the plastic bag containing the prasadam from a distance of almost 8 to 10 ft. After repeated requests to show me what was inside the bag, he took out the laddu from the bag, showed it to me briefly (again from a distance), and threw it back. Despite multiple times of explaining to him and his supervisor that the food is very sacred to us, both of them would not listen to me at all. The supervisor's name is Mr. Abdul, and I did not catch the name of the first agent. Mr. Abdul also constantly denied my requests to talk to the airport manager or his boss. Another female Qatar agent (not named here for privacy concerns) who understood the importance of our sacred food, tried to intervene and explain it to the two male agents, but they would not listen at all. She also offered that she can hand it over to the cabin crew who can deliver it to me upon arrival in Houston, but to no avail. In addition, Mr. Abdul threatened to throw us off the airplane in Doha if we continue to make this request. At this point, we were already getting late, hence just got into the flight. I strongly feel that the Qatar's agents' behavior is very unprofessional, discriminatory, and rude. As such, I have made a strong complaint officially to Qatar, and copied the Indian Consulate mission in Houston, TX. I request each of you to review this petition, and show your support to make sure that this kind of incident does not happen again to anyone. Thank you. Sreenivas Nakirekanti

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