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'Working with US authorities': Indian consulate on missing Indian student from Hyderabad

Mohammed Abdul Arfath, an IT student from Cleveland University, has been missing since March 7 and his family received a ransom call allegedly by a gang selling drugs, demanding nearly Rs 1 lakh. Arfath's parents have requested the central government's help in locating the student.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee New York Published on: March 21, 2024 9:58 IST
US, Indian student missing, Ohio, Indian consulate
Image Source : X Mohammed Abdul Arfath, an IT student at Cleveland University, went missing in Ohio.

New York: After reports emerged of an Indian student from Hyderabad who went missing in Cleveland, Ohio and his parents received a ransom call for his release, the Indian Consulate in New York said it was in touch with the victim's family and is working with law enforcement agencies to locate the missing student at the earliest. The student has been identified as Mohammed Abdul Arfath, 25.

"@IndiainNewYork is in touch with Mr Mohammad Abdul Arfath’s family and authorities in the US. We are working with local law enforcement agencies to find him at the earliest," said the Indian Consulate in New York in a post on X.  Arfath, hailing from Nacharam, Hyderabad, arrived in the US in May last year to pursue a Masters in IT from Cleveland University, Ohio.

His father Mohammed Saleem said that Arfath last spoke to him on March 7. Since then, he has not been in touch with his family and his mobile phone is switched off. Arfath's roommates in the US informed his father that they had lodged a missing persons complaint with Cleveland Police.

Ransom call to Arfath's parents

On March 19, Arfath's family received a call from an unidentified person who claimed that Arfath had been kidnapped allegedly by a gang selling drugs and demanded $1,200 (nearly Rs 1 lakh) to release him. The caller also threatened to sell Arfath's kidneys if the ransom wasn't paid, his father said.

"Yesterday, I got a call from an unknown number, and the caller informed me that my son has been kidnapped and demanded money. The caller did not mention the mode of payment but just asked to pay the amount. When I asked the caller to allow us to talk to my son but he refused," Saleem told news agency PTI in Hyderabad.

Arfath's parents have requested the central government to take necessary measures to bring back their son safely. Saleem has also written to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in this regard. In a poster released by Cleveland Police, it said Abdul was wearing a white T-shirt, red jacket, and blue jeans, said the cops in their watch order.

Attacks on Indians in the US

The latest report of kidnapping came in a series of deaths and attacks on Indian students in the United States. In 2024 alone, at least nine students have been killed and several others faced severe attacks. Earlier this week, the Consulate had posted on X about the death of Abhijeeth Paruchuru, a 20-year-old Indian student, in Boston, although initial investigations into his death had ruled out any foul play.

Earlier in January, 19-year-old Neel Acharya, who had been reported missing, was found dead on the Purdue University West Lafayette campus. Acharya was a US citizen. Authorities have said that there was no trauma or significant injuries found during the autopsy on Acharya and "no foul play is suspected at this time". 

In January this year, 25-year-old Indian student Vivek Saini was hammered to death by a homeless drug addict in Georgia. Similarly, another Indian student, Syed Mazahir Ali, hailing from Hyderabad and pursuing a Master's in information technology, was chased and brutally attacked by three unidentified men in Chicago.

(with inputs from PTI)

ALSO READ | Indian student from Hyderabad missing in US for two weeks, family gets ransom call for Rs one lakh

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