9 Apr 2024

Tragic Loss: Indian Student Found Dead in US, Was Missing for 3 Weeks

New Delhi: The Indian consulate in New York confirmed today the unfortunate demise of Mohammed Abdul Arfath, a 25-year-old student hailing from Hyderabad, who ventured to the United States in 2023 to pursue a Master's degree at Cleveland State University. Arfath had been missing for close to three weeks before his body was discovered.

Expressing deep sorrow, the consulate stated, "Anguished to learn that Mr. Mohammed Abdul Arfath, for whom a search operation was underway, was found dead in Cleveland, Ohio. Our heartfelt condolences to Mr. Mohammed Arfath's family."

The consulate assured, "@IndiainNewYork is coordinating with local authorities to ensure a comprehensive investigation into Mr. Mohammed Abdul Arfath's demise. We are providing all possible assistance to facilitate the repatriation of his remains to India."

Arfath's father, Mohammed Saleem, recounted their last conversation on March 7 before Arfath's phone went silent. On March 19, Mr. Saleem received a distressing call from an anonymous individual claiming Arfath had been abducted by a drug-dealing gang, demanding a ransom of $1,200.

"I received a call from an unfamiliar number, informing me of my son's abduction and demanding money. The caller didn't specify the payment method. When I requested to speak with my son, the caller refused," Mr. Saleem disclosed to media.

Successive losses have shaken Indian students in US and their families in India

Tragically, Arfath's demise adds to a series of unfortunate incidents involving Indian students in the US this year. The successive losses have deeply shaken and alarmed both Indian students residing in the US and their families back in India. Among the recent casualties, 25-year-old Vivek Saini was fatally assaulted by a homeless drug addict, while 27-year-old Venkataramana Pittala lost his life in a watercraft accident. The exact causes of death for several students remain unconfirmed.

Despite these tragedies, the United States remains a sought-after destination for Indian students pursuing higher education. As per US statistics, over 260,000 Indian students migrated to the country during the 2022-2023 academic session, marking a significant 35% increase from the previous session.

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