Missing Indian student in US whose parents got ransom call found dead in Ohio’s Cleveland

Team Parvasi – Inside

Missing Indian student in US whose parents got ransom call found dead in Ohio’s Cleveland

New York: A 25-year-old Indian student who had been missing since last month was found dead in the US city of Cleveland, the second death within a week as the community grapples with a string of such tragedies.

Mohammad Abdul Arfath, hailing from Nacharam, Hyderabad, arrived in the US last year in May to pursue a Masters in IT from Cleveland University.

“Anguished to learn that Mr Mohammed Abdul Arfath, for whom search operation was underway, was found dead in Cleveland, Ohio,” the Consulate General of India in New York said in a post on X.

Offering “deepest condolences” to Arfath’s family, the Consulate said it is in touch with local agencies to ensure a thorough investigation into his death.

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“We are extending all possible assistance to the bereaved family to transport his mortal remains to India,” the Consulate added. Last month, the Consulate said that it was working with local law enforcement authorities to locate the Indian student.

Arfath’s father Mohammed Saleem had said that Arfath last spoke to him on March 7, and since then he has not been in touch with his family. His mobile phone is switched off as well.

“We are working with local law enforcement agencies to find him at the earliest,” the Consulate had said.Arfath’s roommates in the US had informed his father that they lodged a missing persons complaint with Cleveland Police. However, on March 19, Arfath’s family received a call from an unidentified person, who claimed that Arfath had been kidnapped allegedly by a gang selling drugs and demanded USD 1,200 to “release” him.

The caller also threatened to sell Arfath’s kidneys if the ransom wasn’t paid, his father said. “I got a call from an unknown number, and the caller informed me that my son had been kidnapped and demanded money. The caller did not mention the mode of payment but just asked to pay the amount. When I asked the caller to allow us to talk to my son, he refused,” Saleem told in Hyderabad.

Arfath’s parents have requested the Central government to take necessary measures to locate and bring back their son safely. Saleem has also written to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. The incident is the latest in a string of troubling cases pertaining to the safety and security of Indian students in the US.

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