'I’m a Muslim, but not a terror suspect' | delhi | Hindustan Times
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'I’m a Muslim, but not a terror suspect'

delhi Updated: Mar 16, 2010 23:39 IST
Vijaita Singh

"Just because I am a Muslim, I do not become a terror suspect. The two Britons who were arrested with all kinds of hardware and software have been let off and are back in their country. It has been more than a month that I have been dumped here," said Winston Marshall Carmichael, an American traveler, who was arrested at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) for carrying a knife hidden in a shilajit (an ayurvedic herb) rock.

Carmichael, a Muslim convert, who turned 62 years old on March 8, has spent the past 34 days of his life at the Lampur Detention Centre in northwest Delhi.

The police, meanwhile, have not registered any case against him yet and he is yet to hear anything from the authorities concerned.

On February 16, two British "aviation enthusiasts" — Steve Ayres (55) and Stephen Hampston (46) — were held at the Radisson Hotel in south Delhi for allegedly taking pictures of aircraft flying in and out of the IGI airport, 500 metres away. They were later arrested and booked under the Telegraph Act and let off by a city court last week.

"Imagine if the police had recovering plane-spotting equipment and instruments that could record the pilots’ conversation from me. They wouldn’t have spared me at all. Those two Britishers were let off because they were not Muslims," said Carmichael, a father of 16 children.

He added that his wife is suffering from cancer and that his family was worried sick about him back home in the US.

"My youngest son who is just 11-years-old has not been told that I have been detained here in India. I am an apolitical person. I have raised my children on a farm, I am not concerned about the political stuff," said Carmichael.

The police, meanwhile, say they are waiting for the forensic reports and so have not registered any case yet.

"Necessary action will be taken on receipt of necessary reports and verification of related documents," said O P Mishra, deputy commissioner of police (IGI) airport.

When contacted, an American Embassy official refused to comment.

"I have been interrogated by all kinds of investigating agencies," he said.

"I just retire to the prayer room at the detention centre and spend my time there. I believe in God and hope that I will be released soon. The Embassy officials are in touch with me and are helping me," Carmichael said.