Pune teenager, labelled Islamic State suicide bomber, says misleading media reports have ruined her academic career

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The Pune teenager who was labelled as an “IS suicide bomber” by the Jammu & Kashmir Police in January but exonerated after extensive questioning by police and intelligence agencies, on Monday lamented that her academic career had been ruined by the misleading media reports.

Sadiya Anwar Shaikh, 18, who came before the media after her return from Srinagar early Sunday, said she had gone there with her mother Sumiyya for admission to a local nursing college. After securing her admission to the SET Paramedical & Nursing Institute in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama in mid-January, Sadiya was busy completing other requirements while her mother returned to Pune. “On 25 January, I was shocked to see local newspaper and television reports purportedly referring to me as some kind of ISIS (IS) human-bomb. Immediately I approached the nearest police station and informed them of the reality of my visit to Jammu & Kashmir,” Sadiya, flanked by her mother, told media persons.

Thereafter, the entire Jammu & Kashmir Police top brass, the Intelligence Bureau, National Investigation Agency and other agencies subjected her to sustained interrogation but finally cleared her. “The J&K Police have sent an email to Pune police clearing me of all the falsehoods. Unfortunately, because of the wrong and biased media reports and campaign against me, on 27 January, the college abruptly cancelled my admission for the nursing course,” Sadiya said.

Undeterred, the convent-school educated girl, who has been a topper all through her academic career, said now she will complete her graduation from a Maharashtra college and later appear for the civil services examinations, with a dream to become an IAS or IPS officer. Mulnivaasi Muslim Manch President Rafi Anjum Inamdar announced that his NGO has decided to take care of all the future education expenses of Sadiya, and provide her all help to secure admission in a college of her choice in Pune, Mumbai or any other place. “We will also appeal to the Press Council of India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to give justice to this young girl who has been a victim of blatant falsehoods by some media groups. This has affected not only her academics, but could also affect her job and marital prospects in future,” Inamdar told IANS after the media conference.

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On 22 January, the Jammu & Kashmir Police had circulated an alert from IB of the possibility of the Pune girl who could act as a “human bomb” on Republic Day celebrations in that state, leding to Sadiya’s travails.

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