Parvathi Menon

BANGALORE: “We are very happy that Dr. Mohammad Haneef is returning and joining his family,” E. Ahamed, Union Minister of State for External Affairs, told The Hindu on Sunday. “We are happy that his innocence has been established and that his passport has been returned to him.”

As soon as they heard of Dr. Haneef’s return, his wife, Firdous Arshiya, and father-in-law, Ashfaq Ahmed, telephoned Mr. Ahamed to thank him for the help that he and the Ministry of External Affairs had given them. The Minister said he was likely to visit Bangalore shortly, and would see Dr. Haneef and family here.

The doctor’s return did not amount to deportation as he was allowed to return voluntarily, said Mr. Ahamed. He termed as “praiseworthy” the efforts of all those who supported him — “the legal fraternity, human rights activists and most important, the media in both Australia and India.”

India had from the beginning pleaded with Australia to treat Dr. Haneef “justly and fairly,” and the Government’s efforts had come to a “happy conclusion,” he said. “The most important thing that emerges from this is that the baseless charge of involvement of an Indian in a terror plot has been proved wrong,” the Minister said.

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