A Dubai-based Indian expatriate is desperately looking for answers following the mysterious ‘disappearance' of his younger brother in Saudi Arabia early this month.
Mechanical engineer Fasih Mahmood, 28, was reportedly picked up by Saudi police from his home in the industrial city of Al Jubail on May 13. Several days later, there's still no word on him except for media reports suggesting that he has been detained at the behest of Indian authorities for aiding a terrorist activity in India in 2010 - a charge his Dubai-based brother Sami Mahmood, 32, vehemently denies.
"This is completely untrue. Fasih is in Saudi Arabia since 2007. In five years he has visited India barely 2-3 times. The last time he went there was in September 2011 and it was for his own wedding. Our parents have imbibed good values in us. He will never do something like this," said Sami, who's flying to India to clear his brother's name and be at the side of his grieving parents as they prepare to sit on a hunger strike in front of the Saudi Embassy in New Delhi.
Sami's father is a practisicing doctor and his mother is a school principal in Darbhanga, Bihar. Sami said they are shattered. "If the arrest of their son was not bad enough, the stoic silence of Saudi authorities and the Indian government over his whereabouts has made it even worse. A hunger strike is their last resort," he added..
Last week, Fasih's pregnant wife Nikhat Parveen, 22, recounted how their fairytale life in the Gulf came to an abrupt end when, she alleged, Saudi and Indian officials burst into their Al Jubail home and whisked away her husband of eight months.
Following a media outcry, the Indian home ministry has asked the country's external affairs ministry to find if Fasih is still in Saudi custody.
"We are living a nightmare and are extremely worried about Fasih's safety. The last time he called his family was around 3pm on May 19. It was a short call and it came from Saudi Arabia. Fasih was crying hysterically as he pleaded his innocence," said Sami.
In a related development, several members of civil society, human rights activists and journalists have asked the Indian government to come clean on the isuse. They have demanded the government to own up Fasih's illegal detention and produce him before an Indian court.
"Fasih Mahmood's illegal detention in an undisclosed location, possibly on foreign land, is in gross violation of all established legal procedures," said a joint statement published in India media.