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Jailed sculptor finds 3 angels on eve of Eid

MST

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New DELHI: Rashid Ahmed (78) is not sure what's more affecting — celebrating Eid at home eight years late, or 18 months early. But the 78-year-old Bangladeshi sculptor, who spent eight years in jail for carrying fake currency, is certainly happy about riding the crest of a goodwill wave.

Sometime today, Rashid and his daughter-in-law Noor Nahar Lovely will touch down in their motherland, in time for the Eid lunch of pulao and chicken. That's a far cry from the prospect of jail food they were staring at days ago for being unable to pay a fine of Rs 3 lakh. The 'miracle' is a result of extraordinary cooperation between international agencies, Tihar Jail and some noble Delhiites.

Soon after his release from Tihar on Friday, Rashid told TOI he couldn't believe he was going home. "I have no words to express my joy. They say you can do the Haj without leaving home. For me, this trip is a million Hajs".

A TOI report about how Rashid and Noor, who spent seven years and 11 months in jail for carrying counterfeit currency, would be forced to spend 18 more months in jail if they did not pay the fine of Rs 3 lakh caught the attention of good samaritans Yogesh Kochhar, Ashish Wig and Chetan Seth. The three separately offered to pay the fine.

"This was almost competitive philanthropy. We were overwhelmed with the response, and extended all cooperation possible to facilitate their release from jail," said Tihar law officer and spokesperson Sunil Gupta.

But on Friday, everyone from the benefactors to officials from Foreigner Regional Registration Offices (FRRO), Tihar Jail and the Bangladesh High Commission worked in tandem. The fine was paid off, and the duo flew out of Delhi airport late on Friday night.

"Although we are from different countries, our basic culture and sensitivities and love for each other remain the same. Sending them home by Eid gives us the same satisfaction as bathing in the Ganges. They should reach home in time," said Ashish Wig's father Ravi Wig, who came to Tihar to pay the fine.

Last-minute confusion over tickets at the airport saw Yogesh Kochhar, director-strategic engagement for Microsoft India, step in to arrange tickets to Kolkata and settle the issue of 40kg excess baggage. Kochhar lugged their bags and stayed on to see them off. "Their situation was extremely moving, and we have to set an example for more people to follow. I am just sensitive and alive to a large number of people and their needs beyond my own desires," he said.

Delhi-based businessman Chetan Seth meanwhile arranged tickets on a Saturday morning flight from Kolkata to Dhaka. He had visited the duo in jail after reading TOI's report and made representations on their behalf to the Bangladesh High Commission to get their travel permits immediately. Wig approached the FRRO to expedite their exit visas that sometimes take weeks to arrive. "I wish more people in Delhi will help out like this in future. The government machinery was extremely cooperative," he said.

The FRRO office, which usually closes by 6pm, was teeming with officers on Friday evening. Senior officials rushed Rashid and Noor to the airport, and facilitated their tickets and immigration. Bangladesh High Commission officials in Kolkata have been alerted to help them board the Dhaka flight on Saturday morning.

Before leaving, Rashid said he was looking forward to seeing his daughter. Noor, though, was apprehensive. "I don't know how I will be treated back home. Everyone thinks I am a criminal because I could not prove my innocence," she said.

Her years in jail were also a time of grave personal loss. "I found out only last year that my 13-year-old daughter died in 2005... Though I had a good life in Dhaka earlier, I don't know what the future holds for me," she said. "I will start my work again," said Rashid, "Inshallah, I will fight back for my dignity and remember my friends in India."

"The Bangladesh High Commission is very happy with this. We all are grateful to the media and the great souls who have come together to secure the release of the ill-fated individuals. Indian media is upholding the rights of the people irrespective of race, colour and nationality. My heartfelt gratitude," said Nazibur Rahaman, minister (consular) of the Bangladesh High Commission.

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Md Akmal

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@ " Koi faida nahi !!!"

@ You people have given rather engraved in our heart so many wounds which is so deep that these silly incident has no impact.
 

CaPtAiN_pLaNeT

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@ " Koi faida nahi !!!"

@ You people have given rather engraved in our heart so many wounds which is so deep that these silly incident has no impact.
That guy said he was not involved in the fake currency case instead after having some quarrel with the Hotel Management they made him arrest with that charge. He was a honorable person. It was not needed for him to be involved in fake currency racket along with his daughter in law while going to Ajmir Shaif...

??????? ??????? ???? ????????? ??????? ?????? - ????? ???

আদালত সূত্রে জানা গেছে, ২০০৪ সালের ডিসেম্বরে আজমির শরিফ যাওয়ার জন্য তাঁরা ভারতে আসেন। দিল্লিতে তাঁরা পাহাড়গঞ্জের একটি হোটেলে ওঠেন। ওই হোটেলের ব্যবস্থাপকের সঙ্গে তাঁদের বচসা হয়। পরে ব্যবস্থাপকের নির্দেশে কিছু লোক এসে জাল নোট পাচারকারী চক্রের সঙ্গে যুক্ত থাকার অভিযোগ এনে হোটেল থেকে তাঁদের তুলে নিয়ে যায়। পরে জানা যায়, ভারতের কেন্দ্রীয় গোয়েন্দা সংস্থা সিবিআই তাঁদের গ্রেপ্তার করেছে।
 

Mehnab Khan

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Harshly criticizing the Indian legal system, Rashid Ahmed said, "We were detained for long eight years without any charge, while the Indian authorities brought false accusation against us stating we were dealing in counterfeit currency. The Indian court convicted us on charge of distributing counterfeit currency, days before we were released.

Sordid story of a Bangladeshi sculpture
 

asad71

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India has a wired, and almost cruel bureaucratic machinery. The judiciary is corrupt to the bones. The Indians also hate BD.
 

PlanetWarrior

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The courts convicted them. They could not disprove their guilt. Indians took pity on these convicted criminals and sought their early release. Now some Bangladeshis here are jumping ten feet high spitting at India. We will continue engraving wounds in your hearts if you don't behave whilst on Indian soil
 

Bhairava

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(What happens) Arrested for fake currency - no he was not involved in it. Indian bureaucracy faked the fake currency. (what is reported in BD)

(What happens ) Arrested for smuggling on Indian side - kidnapped by BSF for doing trade on Bangladeshi side (what is reported in BD)

(What happens ) Arrested for trespassing international border - while returning from India, kidnapped by BSF (what is reported in BD)

(What happens ) Smuggled items confiscated by BSF - trade items of BDeshis stolen from them while returning from India (what is reported in BD)

Three cheers to Bangla reporting.
 

TopCat

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The courts convicted them. They could not disprove their guilt. Indians took pity on these convicted criminals and sought their early release. Now some Bangladeshis here are jumping ten feet high spitting at India. We will continue engraving wounds in your hearts if you don't behave whilst on Indian soil
I dont feel sorry for this idiot. These people consider india as their master. He deserved that treatment.
 

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