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Indian student from Hyderabad, who went missing last month in US, found dead in Ohio

Abdul was pursuing a master's degree from an IT university in Ohio. Last month, the family said they had received a call from unidentified men who demanded a ransom of $1,200 which is roughly one lakh in Indian currency.

Written By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Ohio Updated on: April 09, 2024 10:15 IST
Mohammed Abdul Arfath
Image Source : CLEVELAND POLICE Mohammed Abdul Arfath

Ohio: An Indian student from Hyderabad, Mohammed Abdul Arfath, who had been missing in the US since the beginning of the month, was found dead in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indian embassy in New York confirmed the news of his tragic death on X and assured the family members that it would coordinate with local agencies to secure a thorough investigation into Arfath’s death. Notably, 25-year-old Arafth was a student of Information Technology at Cleveland University, Ohio.

India assures justice to the family members 

"Anguished to learn that Mr Mohammed Abdul Arfath, for whom search operation was underway, was found dead in Cleveland, Ohio. Our deepest condolences to Mr Mohammed Arfath’s family," the Indian Embassy confirmed on a social media post.  Further, it asserted that the officials are in touch with local agencies to ensure a thorough investigation into the death of the student. 

"We are extending all possible assistance to the bereaved family to transport his mortal remains to India," it added. 

Family got a ransom call for Rs one lakh

Earlier on March 18, the embassy confirmed that they were aware of the missing Indian student and had added that the officials were coordinating with the local authorities in tracing Arafth. Although it did not mention any words about his parents in Hyderabad getting ransom calls, multiple media reported that the family members received a call from unidentified men who demanded a ransom of $1,200 which is roughly one lakh in Indian currency. 

The unknown caller told Abdul's father that he had been kidnapped by drug sellers in Cleveland. In fact, the caller warned his father to sell his kidney, if he failed to provide the amount. "I got a call from an unknown number, and the caller informed me that my son had 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, he refused," Arfath’s father Mohammed Saleem told PTI in Hyderabad.

The panicked family members then informed their relatives in America who filed a police complaint. 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. At that time, the desperate family had also appealed to the Indian Council in Chicago to help them in locating their son.

Attacks on Indian students in US increased 

The latest report of kidnapping and deaths came in a series of deaths and attacks on Indian students in the United States.  In 2024 alone, at least nine students were killed and several others faced severe attacks. 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.

US administration assures safety

Amid a series of attacks on Indian students in the United States, a top envoy from the Biden administration reacted and assured that the American government is working in order to make the place safer for the Indian diaspora. US Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti acknowledged the "unfortunate" deaths of Indian students and emphasised that the President Joe Biden-led government would make sure to make the country a wonderful place to study while keeping the safety agenda on top priority.

"Our heart always is touched when any tragedy, whether it is a life taken by somebody or any violence, no matter who they are," Ambassador Garcetti said on the sideline of the event. 

"We are very committed to making sure that Indians know that the United States is a wonderful place to study and to be safe," added the US envoy.

Further, he admitted that tragedies could happen in any corner of the world but emphasised that the US has been the favoured destination for Indian students for education. Underscoring the recent incidents of deaths, Garcetti asserted it was the duty of the American government to work collaboratively with their Indian counterpart to ensure the safety of the diaspora staying in the US.

 Also Read: Indian-American student Sameer Kamath at Purdue died by suicide, autopsy report confirms

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