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Abdul Mohammed Arfath

Indian Student, "Abdul Mohammed Arfath" Reported Missing in Ohio; Desperate Parents in Hyderabad Appeal for Help Following Ransom Demand

Los Angeles, Mar 20, 2024 A.Gary Singh

The distressing plight of Abdul Mohammed Arfath, a 25-year-old Indian student pursuing a master's degree in IT at Cleveland University, Ohio, has gripped the attention of authorities and the public alike. Arfath's family in Hyderabad, India, received a harrowing ransom call last week, demanding nearly a lakh rupees for his safe return. The caller, claiming to have abducted Arfath, menacingly threatened to sell his kidney if the ransom wasn't met.

The anxious parents of Arfath, his father Mohammed Saleem in particular, have been enduring an agonizing wait for their son's safe return since his abrupt disappearance on March 7. His last known location traces back to a Walmart store in the city, heightening concerns about his whereabouts and well-being.

The unfolding crisis caught the attention of Majlis Bachao Tahreek spokesperson in Telangana, who rallied support by highlighting Arfath's case. Copies of his passport and a desperate letter penned by his family to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar were circulated to raise awareness and solicit assistance.

Reports indicate that Arfath's father, Mohammed Saleem, received a ransom demand of $1200 from an unidentified caller, intensifying the family's anguish. The lack of specificity regarding the payment method only compounds their distress, leaving them grappling with uncertainty and fear for their son's safety.

Reflecting the gravity of the situation, relatives of Arfath residing in the US swiftly filed a missing person report with Cleveland police upon learning of his disappearance. Desperate for any lead that could aid in his recovery, they reached out to US authorities and the Indian Council in Chicago for support.

As the investigation unfolds, US authorities have described Arfath as last seen clad in a white T-shirt, red jacket, and blue jeans. Meanwhile, his distraught parents cling to hope and await any news of his safe return, their hearts heavy with worry and apprehension.

Arfath's ordeal casts a somber shadow over the Indian student community in the US, echoing recent tragic incidents such as the untimely demise of engineering student Abhijeeth Paruchuru in Boston. While initial investigations into Paruchuru's death yielded no evidence of foul play, his case underscores the vulnerability faced by Indian students abroad. In less than three months, Arfath's disappearance marks the ninth such incident involving Indian students in the US, prompting renewed calls for vigilance and enhanced safety measures within the community. As concerns mount and investigations continue, the quest for answers and justice for Arfath remains paramount, offering a sobering reminder of the perils faced by students pursuing their dreams far from home.

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