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Indian detained in US with jihadi material gets bail

August 25, 2010 12:36 IST
Indian film-maker Vijay Kumar, arrested for carrying jihadi literature and brass knuckles at the Houston airport, has been released on a USD 5,000 bond and ordered not to move out of the city till Friday.

The 40-year-old Kumar was arrested at the George Bush Intercontinental airport on Friday after "acting suspicious," when screeners thought they saw a possible handgun in a scan of his baggage. He was detained by immigration authorities at the immigration holding facility for questioning.

A resident of Malad in north-western Mumbai, Kumar was released on bail on Tuesday night after he spent five days at the Harris County Jail.

Kumar's lawyers Roger Jain and Grant Scheiner said there is a hearing in the case on Friday, where Kumar has to be present.

"As of now, he has been only charged for carrying the weapon. But, the weapon was in the check-in baggage and he did not want to attack anyone. If he had such plans, he would have kept it in the hand luggage," they said.

"Their client is a documentary filmmaker who made movies on Islamic terrorism and has been researching a lot on the subject. He was invited by the Hindu Congress to participate in a discussion regarding Islamic terrorism and hence he was carrying literature on the subject. There is no other reason for him to carry the material," Jain said.

Jain said he was not sure why he was carrying the material but he believed Kumar was going to speak to the Indian community and educate it on jihad and Islamic fundamentalism.

However, some sources said that Kumar was actually en route to Vancouver, where the Hindu congress is scheduled, but stopped over at Houston to meet some friends.

According to Consul General of India in Houston Sanjiv Arora, "We are in direct contact with the authorities, who granted consular access that enabled us to meet Vijay Kumar. And, he is doing good and cooperating well with the authorities."

State District Judge David Mendoza on Monday lowered Kumar's bail from USD 50,000 to USD 5,000 after learning more details about the case and that prosecutors were willing to let him plead to time served for unlawfully carrying a weapon in an airport.

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