Monday, November 29, 1999

Home Ministry intervenes in cleric arrest case

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New Delhi, May 15 (PTI) The Muslim cleric, arrested on May 12 from an Emirates flight after a scare was triggered by his conversation on phone, was released on bail as the police did not press the non-bailable offence registered against him following the intervention of Home Ministry. Nurul Huda, a Deoband cleric and resident of Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh, was offloaded from the Emirates Airways flight from Delhi to London via Dubai after a woman co-passenger complained about his "suspicious" talk over phone. He was produced in court which granted him bail as the police did not press the offence registered under non-bailable Section 505 (creating rumour resulting in public nuisance) of IPC. He was also charged under Section 341 (wrongfully restraining a person) which is a bailable provision. Home Minister P Chidambaram instructed Home Secretary G K Pillai, who spoke to Delhi Police Commissioner Y S Dadwal that "a wrong case" has been slapped on Huda and since there was no reason to keep him behind bars, he should be set free, MHA sources said. According to Dadwal, the woman passenger had told the cabin crew that she heard Huda saying over the phone that "jahaz udne wala hei, ham udane wala hei" (the plane is about to take off, we are about to blow up). However, the cleric told the police that he was only telling his son that "the plane is about to take off (jahaj udne wala hai)". Huda, who runs a madrassa in Deoband, claimed that he was a victim of religious profiling and lamented that he had to spend a night in Tihar Jail with no fault of his. Asked about the incident, Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid today said that Chidambaram must be applauded for timely intervention in the issue. "Occurrence of such incidents from time to time remind us that we have to improve our system and we need to be more vigilant over such issues," he said. The proposed communal violence bill addresses the accountability of the officials in such matters, he added. PTI ACB/RKS/SJK/AMR VMN.

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