What's Bin Laden doing in Gujarat? | tabloid | Hindustan Times
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What's Bin Laden doing in Gujarat?

Even when the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) of the United States of America, is losing its sleep over zeroing in on World's No.1 terrorist Osma bin Laden, the residence of Osama is a common knowledge to all living in Maliya Miyana, a small town in Gujarat!

tabloid Updated: Jun 07, 2006 17:24 IST

Even when the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) of the United States of America, is losing its sleep over zeroing in on World's No.1 terrorist Osma bin Laden, the residence of Osama is a common knowledge to all living in Maliya Miyana, a small town in Gujarat!

In Maliya Miyana, it doesn't surprise anyone if you are asking for directions to Osama bin Laden's home. But take a pause, Gujarat's Osama bin Laden is not running any terrorist group, rather, he is earning his bread and butter as a chemist.

His original name is Hanif Mohammed Sandhwani, which he dislikes to be addressed by anyone. As his biggest claim to fame is his looks that have some resemblance of the Al-Qaieda Chief Osama bin Laden.

Sporting a beard and Musilm headgear like Afganistan's terrorist, Hanif insists on being called as a look-a-like of his namesake.

Walking around with his nephew's expensive toy gun, the kinds that look nearly real, Sandhwani was first noticed by a local cop last year, who showed him a television report on the Taliban and Bin Laden, knowing little the effect it was having on the high school dropout.

While nobody knows what really inspired the otherwise kind and gentle Sandhwani to become an Osama, they nevertheless make fun of his bizarre fancy and have little problems with his fixation for any news on the terror mastermind and daily speeches about the Afganistan or Iraq war.

"He is a very close friend of mine. But the folk here call him Laden, and this is how he is now known. When he goes out for a walk, they say 'Laden is around.' But he is a good man, and an innocent one at that," said Ayub Allarakha, a friend of Sandhwani.

Though Sandhwani, born to a poor farmer's family, could not finish school, he knows six foreign languages and his keen knowledge of traditional indigenous medicine is something the locals count on.

Infact, everyone in the tiny hamlet jokes about his strange passion. But sometimes people get serious about their 'Laden' being one day invited by the US president George W.Bush. But Hanif rules out this probability in lighter vein stating Bush may avoid a meeting because of he 'fear factor'.

"Bush will never call me. When fear gets inside a man, it does not come out. It is like a disease, and till it goes away he cannot take proper breath. Bush is scared of Laden, he will fear a man looking like him could be the terrorist himself. He will be scared," said Sandhwani.

But he won't mind calling on Bush for a chat, he added quickly!