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Missing Indian student found dead in Cleveland, 11th case in US in 2024

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A 25-year-old Indian student has been found dead in Cleveland city, United States (US), after he was reported missing last month, said the consulate in New York on Tuesday.

Mohammed Abdul Arfath went to the US in 2023 for a Master’s degree at Cleveland State University, according to Hindustan Times (HT). The consulate had earlier said that it was in touch with Arfath’s family and was working with the local law enforcement agencies to locate him.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), the Consulate General of India in New York said: “Anguished to learn that Mr. Mohammed Abdul Arfath, for whom search operation was underway, was found dead in Cleveland, Ohio. Our deepest condolences to Mr Mohammed Arfath’s family.”

It further said, “@IndiainNewYork is in touch with local agencies to ensure thorough investigation into Mr Mohammed Abdul Arfath’s death. We are extending all possible assistance to the bereaved family to transport his mortal remains to India.”

Arfath’s father Mohammed Saleem said that they last spoke to Arfath on March 7 and after that his cell phone was switched off. On March 19, Saleem received a call from an unidentified person, who said that Arfath had been kidnapped by a gang selling drugs and demanded $1,200. “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. When I asked the caller to let us talk to my son, he refused,” Saleem said.

On March 21, the Indian consulate had said that it was coordinating with local law enforcement authorities to locate Arfath. The student’s family had written to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, requesting him to locate and bring back Arfath to India.

Arfath’s is the 11 death of an Indian or Indian-origin student in the US this year. Uma Satya Sai Gadde, who studied in Cleveland, died last week. The consulate said that an investigation is underway to ascertain the cause of death.

Earlier this year, Syed Mazahir Ali, a student from Hyderabad, was attacked in Chicago, leaving him severely injured. The Indian Consulate in Chicago promptly intervened, offering support to Ali and his family. The death of Neel Acharya, a student at Indiana’s Purdue University, and the brutal killing of Vivek Saini in Georgia, sent shockwaves among the Indian community in the US. 

First Published: Apr 09 2024 | 1:21 PM IST

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