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Government happy over Haneef's return

Bangalore doctor Mohd Haneef is heading home after he is exonerated of terrorism charges in Australia.

india Updated: Jul 29, 2007 22:05 IST

Government on Sunday welcomed the return of Bangalore doctor Mohammed Haneef after he was exonerated of terrorism charges in Australia.

"We are very happy that he is returning after being absolved of terrorism charges," Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed told PTI as Haneef headed home after about a month-long detention in Australia.

Ahamed, who met Haneef's wife Firdous in Bangalore last week, said the government was happy that the doctor was allowed by the Australian government to return voluntarily.

The 27-year-old medico was held on July 2 at Brisbane airport as Australian authorities suspected his involvement in two failed terror attacks in the UK. The suspicion eventually proved wrong and the authorities dropped all charges against him, leading to his release.

India's concerns were aired at the highest level, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh emphasising that the Australian government should grant him all facilities under the law of the land.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee also spoke to his Australian counterpart Alexander Downer in this regard.

Ever since Haneef was detained, the government had taken all necessary steps besides conveying strong concerns to Australia that he be treated in a "fair and just" manner, the minister said.

He hailed the role played by human rights activists, legal fraternity and media in Australia as well as in India in the Haneef episode.