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Detained Indians freed; they?re just playful

The late night news of the 12 being released had not reached the families of the detainees.

india Updated: Aug 25, 2006 01:45 IST

There was despair and anger in Memon Colony at Jogeshwari (W) on Thursday night after television channels beamed the detention of 12 Indians in a Mumbai-bound Northwest airline.

The late night news of the 12 being released had not reached the families of the detainees.

Five of the 12 detained in the Dutch port city were from Memon Colony. The rest are from adjoining localities.

The 12 men were part of a group of 42 garment exporters who had gone to participate in a trade fair at Port of Spain in the Caribbean island last month.

Some members of the group left Port of Spain on August 19 and reached Mumbai on Monday. The other 12 left Port of Spain on the August 21. On Tuesday, they reached Amsterdam to take a connecting flight.

“On Tuesday night, my son spoke to my daughter-in-law saying that he will be back by Wednesday night and will have dinner at home. The dinner is still in the fridge,” said Kadar Kolsawala, 75, father of Ayub Abdul Kadar Kolsawala, one of the detainees at Amsterdam. Kadar said his son has been in the garment business for the last eight years.

He and his friends — all garment exporters — from the same colony, would frequently visit Mauritius, Africa and Port of Spain to participate in trade fairs. “These are the places where there is a strong Indian community. Hence, there is a demand for Indian attire,” said Kolsawala.

Ayub is married with two children and his family is upset as they have not been able to contact him.

“My daughter-in-law tried to get in touch with Northwest airlines officials in Mumbai who gave her the hotel’s telephone number in Amsterdam. But the hotel’s management were unaware of his whereabouts,” added Kolsawala.

Saying that the bacchas were innocent, he added: “These kids are playful and mischievous. The passengers would have mistaken their playful mood.”

Ayub’s partner Shaqeel Usman Chhotani was also among the detainees. Chhotani’s sister, Sanober, said her brother had last called her on Tuesday night. “I cannot believe that my brother could be detained for no reason. We are simple businessmen and earn our bread through rightful means,” Sanober said. “Why should someone mistake us for terrorists,” she added.

For the last 24 hours, nobody has slept in Yusuf Haji Gaffur Memon’s home. Yusuf is the only breadwinner in the family of seven.

“What is our government doing when citizens are harassed in a foreign country? They were all cleared by the embassy in Port of Spain. Our government should have stepped in when they were detained. It is sad that no one in the government has spoken to us yet,” said Haseena, Yusuf’s wife.

Faisal Abdul Aziz’s brother Sohail was shocked to know that his brother was detained. “The 12 persons detained are innocent businessman and were happy to return home. They were playing pranks with each other,” he said.

Aziz, a garment trader who had gone for the fair, returned a couple of days ago.