I was victimised, but am grateful to supporters: Haneef


Bangalore : Indian doctor Muhammad Haneef, happy and relieved to be back home from a long ordeal in Australia, said he was “victimised” by authorities there that erroneously linked him to the British terror plot, but added that he was grateful to all for support.

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“It’s an emotional moment for me after going through the trauma… I was being victimised by the Australian authorities and the Australian police,” a tired Haneef told reporters from the residence of his father-in-law here.

“I would like to thank my family for the support I got. I would also like to thank the government of India, Indian High Commissioner to Australia Prabhat Shukla, my supporters throughout the world, the media, my lawyer Peter Russo and last but not the least my brother Imran Siddiqui,” he said.

While the eager journalists kept shouting their queries, Haneef refused to take any questions while his relatives announced that he will address the press Monday afternoon.

He soon turned to be with his family, especially his one-month-old daughter Hania whom he saw for the first time – an emotional moment he was waiting for during his incarceration. The family later said prayers and had a sumptuous feast.

Earlier, white flowers were showered on him as he struggled to wade through a large media contingent, neighbours and curious onlookers to get into his father-in-law’s home here at 11.05 p.m. for the first glimpse at his daughter, an hour after he landed in Bangalore after a 25-day ordeal in Australia.

Haneef was forced to talk to the press at the residence in BTM Layout area even before he could meet his wife Firdous Arshiya and the daughter – named by him as Hania.

Haneef, who was working as a registrar in the Gold Coast Hospital in Queensland of Australia, was held July 2 at Brisbane Airport when he was to board a flight home.

He faced the charge of aiding the failed terror plot in Britain last month but was finally cleared of any involvement Friday and boarded the flight home the next day.

Earlier, a long wait came to an end at 9.35 p.m. when the Thai Airways flight TG 325 from Brisbane via Bangkok landed at the airport here with Haneef accompanied by Imran Siddiqui and Russo.

“I am happy. I am relieved,” the 27-year-old doctor said as soon as he came out of the airport.

“I am eager to see my daughter,” he said as his family members and police whisked him away before he could speak to the milling battery of mediapersons waiting at the airport for hours – some of them since morning.

He is no rock star or a popular film actor but the shy doctor was mobbed like one by photographers, camera crew, reporters and a large crowd of well-wishers.

Haneef, clad in a dark blue suit and tie, smiled and waved at them as he struggled to get into the vehicle and police had a tough time regulating the large and pressing media contingent.

His father-in-law Ashfaq Ahmed and two maternal uncles of Firdous, Humayu Siddiqui and Iqbal Siddiqui, were there to greet him.

Firdous stayed back at her father’s residence in BTM Layout area, about 10 km from the airport, attending to last minute preparations to welcome her husband home and taking care of their baby girl.

Even as Haneef landed, the residence was being decorated with flowers, colourful bunting and lights.

After landing, he was immediately taken for immigration clearance even as the large battery of mediapersons and TV crews jostled for a vantage point to catch the first shots of the doctor who has been under worldwide focus for nearly a month.

In a reportedly paid interview to Channel Nine’s flagship current affairs programme “60 Minutes” aired in Australia Sunday, Haneef denied any involvement in terrorist activities and said the accusations against him were defamatory.

Asked if he had ever been or is a supporter of any terrorist organisation, Haneef said: “No, it’s not in my nature to ever support or involve in such activities at all.

“I don’t mean to harm anyone by my words. How can I harm someone with my activities? That’s what I mean to say,” he said.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy indicated that he would be offer a job in a government hospital here.

“The chief minister plans to visit Haneef at his residence Monday and at that time may offer a job for him,” the chief minister’s press officer told IANS.