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UK terror plot: Two Indian doctors held
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July 03, 2007 10:31 IST
Last Updated: July 03, 2007 20:35 IST

Two Indian doctors have been held in Britain and Australia in connection with last week's failed terror attack in the United Kingdom as the hunt for the conspirators intensified across the globe.

An unidentified 26-year-old Indian medico has been arrested in Liverpool in Britain in connection with the plot to target London [Images] and Glasgow, a media report said in London on Tuesday.

He is a post-graduate trainee doctor from Bangalore, the Daily Telegraph said.

Another Indian doctor was detained in Brisbane, Australian Prime Minister John Howard said in Canberra. Australian media identified the doctor as 27-year-old Mohammed Haneef, who had studied in Rajiv Gandhi Institute in Bangalore.

'The person taken into custody is an Indian national who came to Australia sponsored by the Queensland health department under a 457 visa,' Howard told media persons without giving details about him.

'The man has been taken into custody and questioning is underway,' he said, adding: 'There is a second person who is currently assisting the police with their inquiries and the identity of that second person arose from the discussion that occurred with the first person taken into custody.'

A registrar at the Gold Coast Hospital, Haneef, was held on Monday night at Brisbane international airport when he was trying to leave the country on a one-way ticket, officials said.

"No charges have been filed yet (against Haneef)," Attorney General Philip Ruddock said.

Police in Bangalore said they were awaiting information about the detention.

Vice Chancellor of Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences M S Prabhakaran said a student by the name Mohammed Haneef had passed out of the Ambedkar College Bangalore in 2002.

"This is what our record shows. However, as of now, we cannot confirm whether the arrested doctor and the student mentioned are the same. We can do that once we have the doctor's registration number. Moreover, it is a common name. There are two more similar names of alumni who passed out in the same year," he said.

India seeks information:

India has sought details about detention of its two nationals.

"We have sought information," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told media persons accompanying him on a visit to Ethiopia during a stopover in Dubai.

Mukherjee said the identity of the persons held was yet to be conveyed to India.

The person held in Australia had tried to contact somebody in India, the minister said, adding that the inquiry will be completed in a couple of days.

Indian doctors shocked:

The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin has expressed shock at the reported involvement of Indian doctors in the failed car bombings, describing them as 'bad apples.'

'We are obviously shocked that Indian doctors have been named. However, we believe that militants have an abnormal mind. They can come from any profession. We also know examples like Shipman who killed more than 200 of his patients,' BAPIO president Dr Ramesh Mehta said in a statement in London.

'There are bad apples which can be found anywhere. By and large Indian doctors have given sterling services to the National Health Service for over 50 years. That is why they are respected and appreciated,' he said adding, 'I am sure that British public will have common sense to understand this and ensure there is no backlash on Indian doctors.'

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