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'Flight Ab Udne Waali Hai', Maulana Plucked Off The Aircraft

A respected and widely-travelled 50-year-old maulana from Deoband, Uttar Pradesh, was plucked off an aircraft and arrested in Delhi after a woman on board claimed she had heard him having a “dangerous conversation” and “talking
PTI May 14, 2010 12:34 IST
PTI
A respected and widely-travelled 50-year-old maulana from Deoband, Uttar Pradesh, was plucked off an aircraft and arrested in Delhi after a woman on board claimed she had heard him having a “dangerous conversation” and “talking in Arabic” on his cell phone, reports Indian Express.

The Emirates aircraft returned to its bay from the head of the runway, seconds before taking off for Dubai at 11 am on Wednesday.

The passenger, Noor-ul-Huda, runs the Farooqiya madrasa in Deoband and was on his way to London via Dubai to deliver some lectures, police said.

“A woman in her early 20s told the cabin crew that she had heard the maulana say to someone that he would ‘blow up the aircraft' and ‘finish everything'. The woman also said he spoke on the phone in Arabic.

“The pilot communicated this to the airline's security officials, who advised him to return to the parking bay,” said a senior police officer.

No one on board apart from the woman heard the maulana's alleged conversation. Sources said she claimed to have heard Huda saying “flight udaane waala hoon”.

But sources close to Huda's son Fazlullah maintained that the maulana, who had been on the phone with a relative, said the aircraft would be airborne soon. “Flight ab pandrah minute mein udne waali hai (plane will take off in 15 minutes)”, is what Huda said, the sources said.

Huda was detained by the police, and the flight, EK511, left without him after about 90 minutes. Nothing suspicious was found either on Huda's person or in his baggage. However, the police still filed a case against him.

The woman who had raised the alarm — believed to be a US citizen of Indian origin — got off too. She apparently told the police she was too rattled to fly, and later took another flight out of Delhi.

“We booked Noor-ul-Huda for mischief under Section 425 IPC on the basis of the woman's complaint. We are investigating who he was talking to. We have produced him in court,” said Dr O P Mishra, Deputy Commissioner of Police (IGI Airport).

An Emirates spokesperson confirmed the incident. “A passenger filed a complaint against a co-passenger,” the spokesperson said.

“The captain alerted airport authorities who offloaded the baggage of the passenger in question. Full security procedures were activated and the detained passenger was taken into custody by the CISF. The safety of our passengers and crew is paramount and will not be compromised,” the spokesperson added.