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Haneef's family believes in his innocence
Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore

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July 04, 2007 12:10 IST
Last Updated: July 04, 2007 16:01 IST

The happiness was short-lived for the family of Mohammad Haneef, the 27-year-old doctor from Karnataka arrested in Australia in connection with the foiled terror attacks in London [Images] and Glasgow.

Haneef, his family members say, was on his way to Bangalore to spend time with his wife who gave birth to a baby girl four days ago.

For the family the news of his arrest has come as a shock. Haneef's wife Firdous, just out of hospital after the delivery, says with tears in her eyes that she had made all preparations to welcome her husband home, but things took an ugly turn with his detention at Brisbane airport.

Stating confidently that her husband is innocent, she says if he had not been arrested he would have been with her and the baby by now, that was why he was at the airport.

Haneef's family -- comprising his mother, wife and sister -- live in Frazer Town in Bangalore. Their house at Mudigere in Chikmagalur has been given out on rent.

His mother Qurrathulain, visibly shaken by the turn of events, swears by Allah and says her son is innocent. "God has been cruel on us. One hand he gave me all the joy while on the other he snatched it all away. Both my daughter and daughter-in-law have given birth and my son would have been really happy if he were here," she says.

"My son commands a lot of respect amongst both family and friends. His teachers in school and college never once complained about him. He was a frontbencher in school and was a very quiet and attentive boy," the mother said. "I always told people that everyone should have a son like me. I always believed that Haneef would make us all proud one day."

Breaking down, Qurrathulain says her son was the pillar of strength for the family after her husband, Abdul Sami, a school teacher, died in a road accident ten years ago.

Haneef's wife Firdous, an engineering graduate, asks, "Why are we being put through all this harassment?"

The Indian high commission in Canberra refuses to give us any information about him, he is all alone there, she adds.

Haneef's father-in-law Ishtiaq Ahmed, who lives in BTM layout, Bangalore, feels his son-in-law has been unnecessarily charged. Haneef, Ishtiaq says, cannot dream of hurting any person, leave alone planning a terror attack.

"Haneef called us just two days back and told us he would be coming to Bangalore to see his just-born daughter."

Haneef's sister Sumaiah, who has done her master's in biotechnology, lives with her mother. She says she has left it all to God. "He will bail us out of this situation. I believe this is a case of mistaken identity. My brother was like a father figure and a pillar of strength for the family," she adds.

Muneer, the owner of the house in which Haneef's family lives in Bangalore, says the monthly rent of Rs 1,700 has always been paid on time. His tenants have never been a problem and it is hard to believe that Haneef could be involved in any terrorism, he adds.

Haneef's last conversation before his arrest: An hour before he left his home in Australia on Monday afternoon, Haneef phoned his family in Bangalore. 'I will be boarding the Singapore Airlines flight from Brisbane. I will leave for the airport in one hour. I am really excited about seeing my family and newborn,' he reportedly told them.

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