‘India’s bin Laden’ was a good boy in school

Updated on Sep 20, 2008 12:44 AM IST

The world may be calling him India’s bin Laden, but it’s an image Abdus Subhan Qureshi’s teachers find hard to reconcile with his school day persona, reports Presley Thomas.

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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

The world may be calling him India’s bin Laden, but it’s an image Abdus Subhan Qureshi’s teachers find hard to reconcile with his school day persona.

Teachers at Byculla’s Antonio De Souza High School, where Qureshi studied in the ’80s, remember him as a ‘quiet’ boy.

“I don’t recollect everything about him because teachers tend to remember students who are always up to tricks in the classroom,” says a teacher, requesting anonymity.

Qureshi, says the teacher, was not the kind of student who scores 90 per cent but did better than a lot of others in his class.

According to the teacher, Qureshi scored 76.6 per cent in his secondary school certificate exam in 1988. “In those days, a 70 percentile score in SSC exams was deemed really good,” adds the teacher.

Qureshi went on to obtain a diploma in industrial electronics from Bharatiya Vidyapeeth in Kharghar and in 1995, he also obtained a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) certificate from CMS Institute in Marol.

Qureshi’s parents, sources say, had made sure that all their six children were well educated. His sisters, Asma and Saifa, did their masters in Arts. But none apart from him seems to have been drawn into fundamentalist groups.

“When I saw his photograph flashed on TV, I was shocked. I do not know how he got inclined towards anti-national activities,” says Qureshi’s teacher.

Even investigators are yet to ascertain who indoctrinated Qureshi, but it seems he had become a staunch Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) activist by 1998. Qureshi also attended the SIMI conference at Aligarh in 1999, which was addressed by Sheikh Ahmed Yasin, founder and spiritual leader of Palestine’s Hamas, police sources say.

But it was only in 2001 that Qureshi’s SIMI affiliation took charge of his life. He gave up his job at Datamatics to ‘pursue religious activities’ and went on to edit SIMI’s mouthpiece Islamic Voice from their registered office in Delhi.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Presley Thomas heads the crime and legal team of Hindustan Times, Mumbai. Has been a journalist since the last 16 years and has worked with various national dailies. Covers defence and terrorism, and has reported from various states across the country

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