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Grounded by a prank mail

It took a Right To Information Act (RTI) application and the intervention of the Union Home Minister to withdraw a ‘Look Out Circular’ notice against a man who was detained at IGI airport on charges of terrorism.
By Vijaita Singh and Khwaja Jamal | Hindustan Times, New Delhi/muzaffarpur
UPDATED ON JUL 01, 2010 11:11 PM IST

It took a Right To Information Act (RTI) application and the intervention of the Union Home Minister to withdraw a ‘Look Out Circular’ notice against a man who was detained at IGI airport on charges of terrorism.

On a vacation in Bihar, Ata-ur-Rehman (30) wanted to resume his job at Doha in Qatar. He booked a ticket on May 27 from Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI).

“When I was about to board the flight, immigration officials stopped me. Soon officers of the Special Cell came and they grilled me for 11 hours. They asked me how many times have I visited Pakistan and what kind of weapons I can handle,” said Rehman.

What was the trigger?

An e-mail sent by an anonymous person to various security agencies claiming that Rehman has terror links. The police now suspect the sender could be a “jealous relative”.

“I was assured I could fly again. I purchased a ticket again and when I went to board the flight on June 11 I was again stopped and interrogated for another four hours. The same set of questions followed. They asked when did I join Al Qaeda,” said Rehman, an electrician.

Rehman said he had to report to work in June and has already lost his one-month’s salary (Rs 15,000).

“I had to stay in Delhi for almost a month and spend around Rs 20,000. I am not from a wealthy background and this money meant a lot to me. Besides the money, it was also a lot of mental agony. My visa is going to expire in a month,” said Rehman.

The police said they were tracing the e-mail’s sender and were in touch with their Bihar counterparts to nab the person.

“The anonymous person sent mails to various agencies following which a circular was invoked against Rehman. We interrogated him and found that he is innocent. Now we have written to all agencies concerned to withdraw the circular against him and have submitted a report to the Ministry of Home Affairs,” said a senior police officer.

Meanwhile, Rehman has gone back to his hometown at Muzaffarpur, Bihar.

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