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Home > News > Report

Karnataka town comes to terms with Haneef's fate

Vicky Nanjappa in Chikmagalur | July 04, 2007 18:43 IST

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Chikmagalur is popularly known as a district of surprises.

Situated around 200 km from Bangalore, the place is most famous for its coffee. However, this time round the district has sprung a strange surprise and is on the world map for all the wrong reasons.

A native of the town, Dr Mohammed Haneef, has been detained by the police in Brisbane, Australia, for questioning in connection with the Glasgow and London [Images] incidents of last week.

A resident of Mudigere in Chikmagalur, Haneef has been in Australian custody since Monday.

Residents of the area are in shock over the news. Elders in the village say it is a shame if Haneef is really involved in such activities.

However, many who have known the doctor since his childhood cannot believe that Haneef could be involved in such a case. He was shy and a very soft-spoken boy, recalls Noorullah Khan, a family friend who resides on JM Road, where Haneef's house is also located.

Raheela, a childhood friend, classmate and neighbour, recalls that Haneef was very shy. She said the two studied at the Nalanda school in Mudigere from lower kindergarten to Class IV. She adds that he was very good at his studies and kept to himself most of the time.

After finishing his schooling, she said Haneef left for a nearby town, Ujire, where he did his pre-university course at the SDM college before moving to Bangalore. During his school days at least, he did not show too much interest in sports. His passion was books, she added.

Parvez Hussain, a coffee planter who is known to Haneef's family, said as a boy he was never a nuisance. "It is quite shocking to hear of this development but I am sure he will come out clean."

Hussain says the Haneef he has known for almost 20 years does not indicate that he could be involved in such activities. He was a very helpful boy and there were no communal feelings in him.

Deathly silence: The entire Mudigere taluk seems to have become quiet following this development. Normally buzzing with activity, the taluk seems to have taken it to heart; almost all are watching the developments eagerly.

One of Haneef's school teachers, who did not wish to be named for this report, says Haneef did not have too many friends in school. He was more of a loner who preferred the company of books. He was not involved in too many extracurricular activities either, and the sports arena was a big no for him.

Noorullah recalls that Haneef had a tragic family life. He lost his father at a young age, as a result of which the entire family burden fell on him, he said.

After news of his detention broke out several of Haneef's relatives have left Mudigere. Their neighbours say they did not wish to talk to anyone.

Meanwhile, Haneef's family members in Bangalore say they have got in touch with the Indian high commission in Australia. The authorities have reportedly assured the family that Haneef has neither been charged nor arrested in the case, he has only been detained for questioning.