A month after Syeda Lulu Minhaj’s video of her starving on the streets of Chicago went viral, no progress has been made on her return to India.
Amjed Ullah Khan, a Spokesman for Telangana-based Majlis Bachao Tahreek (MBT), who has been coordinating with Minhaj’s mother and the Indian Embassy authorities in the US, told The Free Press Journal that the 37-year-old’s condition has deteriorated.
“She is not in a condition which can lead to her coming back to India. Minhaj is not allowing anybody to help her,” stated Khan.
What happened to Syeda Minhaj?
Minhaj, who left for her Masters to pursue post graduation in Information Science at Trine University in Detroit in August 2021, has been moving from place to place in Chicago while refusing help from well-wishers and authorities alike.
Though it’s not clear what led to the Hyderabad native being found in the precarious situation, her mother Syeda Wahaj Fatima had told The FPJ in July 2023 that somebody stole Minhaj’s phone while she was on her way to another University in Ohio.
“When she ran behind the person (thief), she forgot her bag on the road which was later taken by somebody else,” stated Fatima, who got to know about her daughter through two Hyderabadi youths who spotted Minhaj outside a Masjid.
According to Khan, the parents who have applied for their visas to go to the US to take care of their daughter will not receive an appointment for the same till next year.
“The Indian Consulate in Chicago should send a letter to the Indian Embassy in the USA and also mark the Ministry of External Affairs on the same,” said Khan, who lamented the Telangana government over alleged delays in helping out Fatima and her family to bring Minhaj safely back home.
'Offered support but nothing positive yet,' claims Indian Consulate
The Indian Consulate in Chicago also defended itself on Sunday after Hyderabad-based activists appealed for help in Minhaj’s case.
“We have repeatedly offered all support to Ms Syeda Zaidi for her return to India. She is yet to respond positively,” said the tweet by India in Chicago on September 10.
Minhaj, who was an Assistant Professor at Shadan College of Engineering and Technology in Hyderabad, decided on travelling to the US after Covid-induced restrictions across India.
In the viral video from July 2023, Minhaj is seen asking for palak and dahi from a man trying to help her. The student also mentioned facing a car accident in Ohio for which she was treated by the paramedics in the video.