Homecoming: Dr Mohamed Haneef arrives at Bangalore
Airport from Australia on July 29 night
Bangalore, July 29 After his 25-day harrowing ordeal in Australia, Indian doctor Haneef, wrongly accused of helping a terrorist group, returned home here tonight to a highly emotional welcome by his family affirming that terrorism was nowhere in the remotest corner of his brain. Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy says he will meet Haneef tomorrow and offer him a government job.
Clad in a dark suit and a maroon striped shirt, Haneef, looking relaxed after being absolved of terror charges in Australia, landed at the Bangalore airport at around 2130 hours and was warmly received by his father-in-law Ishtiaque Ahmed and brother.
A huge contingent of media persons, police personnel laid a siege around Haneef who reached accompanied by his cousin Imran Siddiqui who had gone to Australia to help him in his legal case and lawyer Peter Ruso. Earlier in a reportedly paid interview with Australian Channel 9 network, the Indian doctor, when asked whether he was a terrorist, said "It`s not in my nature to ever support or involve (myself) in such activities at all.”
He said he never mean to hurt anyone by his words and so could not think of hurting anyone by his activity. Haneef said he was never a risk to Australia and would have informed authorities had he known his cousins Kafeel and Sabeel Ahmed were plotting attacks in the UK.
"It`s not in my nature to ever support or involve (myself) in such activities at all," 27-year-old Haneef said. He acknowledged visiting Kafeel Ahmed, his relative who was arrested in the UK in connection with the failed Glasgow Airport attack, in 2004 but said they had never lived together.
"Sometimes he used to come to our place and we had family trips throughout UK actually," he said. But he had not known Kafeel held radical views and had been startled to learn of his involvement in the bombing plot. "I couldn`t really believe that someone from my family would do such a thing," Haneef said adding he was scared to be labelled as "terrorist" after his family member`s involvement in terrorist activity.
"If I had known anything, definitely, I would have let the authorities (know), let their parents know first—who are the main sufferers now I suppose," he said. Haneef said he was looking forward to spending time with his wife and baby daughter, who was born days before his arrest at Brisbane Airport on July 02.
Haneef arrived in Bangalore by a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok where he reached earlier in the day from Brisbane. Haneef waded through a crowd of media persons and policemen and was put into a car which drove him home. Despite his ordeal of four weeks in custody amid a bungled terrorism prosecution, haneef said he was optimistic to return to Australia one day to pursue his medical career.
"I would, even after I go back to India, I might think about coming back here," Haneef said in his first media interview, recorded before his departure from Brisbane.
"It`s just a matter of my visa to be sorted out` he said. On a question why he was now leaving Australia he said "I have to live with my family now. I`ve had enough trauma now," Haneef said.
He said during his questioning by Australian Police he was asked all sorts of questions like his personal, financial details also if he had ever been to countries like Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. Haneef maintained he did send money to clear his personal loans in UK and not to fund any terrorist activity.
Eager to see my daughter: Haneef
"I am happy to be here. I am relieved and eager to see my daughter", Haneef said at the airport. Haneef`s brief comments to reporters came soon after he came out of the Thai Airways flight from Bangkok.
The doctor began the statement by stating that "Glory be to God". Australian Minister Kevin Andrews had cancelled Haneef`s work visa last week after a magistrate in Brisbane had granted him bail. After the terrorism charge was dropped climaxing in the face of crumbling evidence, he was given the green signal to go back home without however reinstating his work visa.
Karnataka govt to make job offer to Haneef
Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said he would meet Haneef, who returned here from Australia after being cleared of terrorism charges, tomorrow and offer him a government job. The offer would be made when I meet Haneef and his family at his residence," he said.
Kumaraswamy expressed happiness over the return of Haneef after being exonerated of all charges.
Haneef offers thanksgiving namaz
In his first act after landing here tonight Haneef offered thanksgiving namaz at a mosque here for ending his ordeal.Haneef drove straight from the airport to the Madina Masjid in the posh BTM layout, where his in-laws live, and offered "shukarna namaaz" as thanksgiving, his family sources said.
Haneef said he would like to thank his family for support, the Indian government and the Indian High Commissioner to Australia Prabhat Shukla, lawyer Peter Russo and his legal team, "My supporters in India, Australia and throughout the world and the media which supported me in India and worldwide".
He said he would like to thank his cousin Imran Siddiqui, who had gone to Australia to help Haneef in his legal battle against Australian authorities, for bringing him home to reunite with his wife and one-month-old daughter.
Siddiqui said haneef would not take any question from the media tonight and would address a press conference tomorrow.