Ailing parents of Hyderabad engineer stranded in the US seek MEA help to bring her back

Syeda Lulu Minhaj, an ex-lecturer from Hyderabad, was found in a fragile condition in Chicago after she went to the US for higher studies.

ByAjay Tomar

Published Jul 26, 2023 | 8:05 PM Updated Jul 27, 2023 | 5:31 PM

Ailing parents of Hyderabad woman student stuck in US seek MEA help to bring her back Syeda Lulu Minhaj Zaidi

In August 2021, Syeda Lulu Minhaj Zaidi, a former lecturer at Hyderabad’s Shadan College of Engineering & Technology, went to Chicago in the US to pursue a postgraduate degree.

Two years later, her parents are appealing to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to help her return to India.

This is because, in a shocking turn of events, Syeda — now in her early 30s — was found on the streets of Chicago in a fragile condition.

“She seemed physically weak and unwell when I encountered her. She said that she reached Chicago by bus. She is undergoing treatment here at a city hospital and is recovering now,” Minhaj Akhtar, a social activist living in the US for 33 years, who is assisting Syeda, told South First over the phone from Chicago.

Also read: Daughter of womanpursue stranded in Oman seeks help from MEA

Ailing parents seek help

After finishing her MTech in the first division, Syeda Lulu, a resident of Sadullah Nagar in Hyderabad, enrolled in an Information Technology course at Trine University’s Detroit (Michigan) Education Center in August 2021.

“She is a bright student. When the lockdown was imposed due to Covid-19, she wrote exams and got enrolled. She was very happy then,” her mother Syeda Wahaj Fatima told South First.

After landing in the US, Syeda Lulu used to communicate regularly with her mother until two months ago.

On 22 July, Syeda Lulu’s mother wrote a letter to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar requesting him to ensure her safe return after Minhaj Akhtar informed the girl’s parents about her condition.

Fatima added that her daughter was in a state of “deep depression” after losing most of her valuables.

“She said that most of her belongings — including luggage, many documents, phone, and several other things — were stolen. So, she went into depression and did not even eat, and was stranded on the roads of Chicago,” said Fatima, who spoke to her daughter over the phone with the help of Minhaj and others.

Right after the couple got to know of their daughter’s frail condition, their health started deteriorating. “I have been unwell for many days, and my husband is a cardiac patient,” Fatima said.

“She did not speak much and only told us that she misses us. But she could not speak to the point and was only repeating what she had already said,” she added.

Also read: Last rites of Aishwarya Thatikonda performed in Hyderabad

Consulate in Chicago responds

Syeda Lulu’s condition came to the fore after Amjed Ullah Khan, the spokesperson for the Telangana-based political party Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT), posted a message with her details on social media.

“Syeda Lulu Minhaj Zaidi from Hyd went to persue MS from TRINE University, Detroit was found in a very bad condition in Chicago, her mother appealed @DrSJaishankar (S Jaishankar) to bring back her daughter [sic],” the message read.

The Indian Consulate in Chicago responded to Khan’s tweet and said they are aware of Syeda Lulu’s case.

“The Indian Consulate is very concerned and is making proactive efforts to ensure that her condition improves and she returns home,” said Minhaj Akhtar.

He also warned parents to be cautious while sending their children to the US — either for studies or employment.

“Many students come here in the hopes that they will get a job easily. But it’s not that simple. And once a financial crisis starts and they do not get n alternative job, they start going into depression. So it should be ensured that financially these children are sound,” said Minhaj Akhtar.

Meanwhile, Syeda’s parents now hope that she would be repatriated to them soon.

“It has been a bitter experience for us as she just went for studies. So far, the ministry has not contacted us but we are positive,” Fatima said.

Syeda Minhaj also met Hyderabad-origin civil engineer Syed Mukkarum in Chicago who provided her shelter in his house.

Ailing parents of Hyderabad engineer stranded in the US seek MEA help to bring her back Syeda Minhaj Zaidi

Syeda Lulu Minhaj Zaidi when she met Syed Mukarrum. (Supplied)

“I was informed by some other locals and when I met her she was in a lack of sleep state. She was not in a position to go anywhere so we called an ambulance but she refused to go. She was trying to sleep in a neighbourhood where robberies are frequent,” Mukarrum, who has been residing in the US for the past 27 years, told South First over the phone.

“My wife who is a doctor suggested that she needs rest, so we took her to our house and then we made arrangements for her in a motel for the night,” he added.

‘MEA’ in Aid of Diaspora in Distress (MADAD), which addresses the grievances of Indians abroad, said that it has registered a case.

“The case vide Grievance Id US6RPT109412323 has been registered on Madad Portal and forwarded to the concerned Mission/Post for necessary action,” it said on X (Twitter).

Also read: London police arrest flatmate for murder of Telangana woman