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Kafeel dead, parents shut themselves away


Bangalore : The aged doctor parents of British terror plot suspect Kafeel Ahmed shut themselves away from the outside world Friday as news reached that he had died of burns sustained in the horrific incident.

For Maqbool Ahmed and Zakhia Ahmed, the death may have compounded a traumatic dilemma – was he really their 27-year-old son?

Soon after it was known that the man who drove a gasoline filled jeep into Glasgow airport terminal June 30 and suffered 90 percent burns in the incident, the couple denied that he was their elder son Kafeel.

A few days later, Bangalore police quoted Zakhia as saying that from the TV grab it appeared that the injured man was indeed their son Kafeel.

Since then the couple and their daughter Sadia Kauser have not stirred out of their house in the upmarket Banashankari area in the city.

For the last three weeks or so, only their lawyer B.T. Venkatesh has been talking on their behalf. On Friday he told reporters that he could not offer any comment unless British authorities officially confirmed the news to him or his counterpart in Britain.

Kafeel’s younger brother Sabeel, a doctor from Bangalore, who was working in a Liverpool hospital, has been detained and charged with having information about the terror plot and not informing the authorities about it.

There have been reports that the British authorities had conducted a DNA test of Kafeel and Sabeel to establish the identity of the former. There is no official word from the British on these reports so far.

The Bangalore police, who are going through material contained in a computer hard disc and CDs seized from his house in Banashankari to learn about Kafeel’s possible links with extremist groups when he was here, declined to comment on whether his death will affect their probe.

“Our investigation will continue as our effort is to find out whether he was part of a sleeper cell of extremist groups or had helped establish such cells in the city,” a senior police official involved in the probe said.

Information gathered so far from the hard disc and the CDs show that he was deeply interested in ‘jehad’ literature and the plight of the Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan and Chechnya, the officer said.

Kafeel did his mechanical engineering from a college in Davangere, about 250 km from Bangalore, and went to Britain for his PhD in aeronautical engineering.

Though described by his teachers and classmates at the Davangere college as intelligent, studious and reserved, Kafeel’s actions have been controversial as he provided incorrect or false information during admission to the college.

For instance, in the column on religion he had mentioned “Hindu”. This was noticed by the college authorities when the media started digging information on him following the Glasgow terror bid.

Kafeel and Sabeel were born in Saudi Arabia where their parents worked for a few years. The doctor couple now lead a retired life after closing down a nursing home they ran for several years.

Maqbool Ahmed was an active member of the Jammat-e-Islami group in Bangalore.