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Deported Indian student released on bail

August 31, 2006 14:35 IST

Mohammed Shafiq, the Hyderabad student who was deported to India from the UK and was subsequently arrested in India, has been relased on bail

The Hyderabad city police arrested Shafiq a few days back for not possessing proper travel documents.

North Zone Deputy Commissioner of Police Shikha Goel told newsmen that the 23-year-old Mohammed Shafiq was detained under Section 41 A of Criminal Procedure Code on grounds of reasonable suspicion. He was produced before a magistrate and released on bail. 

"His passport and visa are valid, but we are not satisfied with his reasons for going to the US to pursue higher studies. There is also an element of doubt about his academic certificates," the DCP said and pointed out that for example, Shafiq could produce only certificates of 10th standard (SSC) and nothing else, but he was going to New York to join an MBA programme at the Johnson and Wales University at Rhode Island when he was intercepted by immigration officials at Heathrow airport at London.

The police also said that the boy was earlier involved in a criminal case in Hyderabad.  In 2004, the police had registered a case against him at Malakpet police station for threatening the Congress legislator Malreddy Ranga Reddy over phone.

He had allegedly threatened the MLA after a police team from Gujarat shot dead a youngster Mujahid Salim Islahi near the DGP's office in the city when a mob tried to set free Maulana Naseruddin who was arrested in connection with the Haren Pandya murder case.

A non-bailable warrant was issued against Shafiq in that case and he was arrested in 2005. But he moved the Andhra Pradesh high court and reportedly secured an order to keep the case in abeyance.

Subsequently, he went to Dubai, returned in October 2005 and went back again in February 2006. He worked there as a marketing executive in a trading company and stayed with his elder brother.

From there, he applied for admission in an MBA programme at Johnson and Wales University in the USA and secured a student visa from US consulate. He claimed to be a Commerce (B.Com) graduate from Osmania University.

To complete the admission formalities, he boarded a flight for the US, but was intercepted by the immigration officials after landing at London airport. The officials deported him to Mumbai for not having required documents. From Mumbai, he was sent back to Hyderabad. On an intelligence tip-off, the Hyderabad police took him into custody after he landed at the Begumpet airport on Tuesday night.

The Hyderabad police are probing possible links of Shafiq with a local Muslim group -- Darsgah-e-Jehad-o-Shahadat -- since his family's residence is located in front of the house of DJS chief Mahboob Ali at Saidabad in the Old City.

Narrating his tale of woes to newsmen on Wednesday before his formal arrest, Shafiq said that he had a US student visa and was traveling from Dubai to New York via London. "I applied for US student visa to do my MBA. I boarded the Atlantic Virgin flight from Dubai on August 25. There was a connecting flight of the same airline to the US from Heathrow. Soon after the flight landed at London, three marshals entered the plane and took me away. They were looking at Asians suspiciously," he recalled.

Shafiq said that the British immigration officials checked his luggage and asked him why was he going to the US if his parents were in Hyderabad. He was detained in London for three days. The British police mentally tortured him.

"I told them I am a student and not a terrorist. They asked my opinion on 9/11 and other terror attacks and I told them that it is all about international politics. I was singled out, detained and questioned repeatedly. Finally, when they told me that they were sending me back on suspicion, I asked them why. I warned them that I would commit suicide. However, I was put in a plane back to India," he pointed out.

His ordeal did not end when he was deported from London. He reached Mumbai under escort on August 28 and the local immigration officials kept him in custody for a day. Mumbai police and Intelligence Bureau officials interrogated him. When he arrived in Hyderabad on Tuesday night, he was interrogated by the city police and finally arrested on Wednesday.

Shafiq said that he has changed his mind about going to the US. "I don't think I will go to the US as they are looking at Muslims with suspicion. If they do something to me, who will come to my rescue," he added.

Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad