'My 4-Yr-Old Wants Her Papa To Return': Wife of Indian Student Attacked in US

"It was his big American dream to do his masters in the US," says Fatima, Ali's wife.

South Asians
4 min read
Hindi Female

(Trigger warning: Descriptions of physical assault)

"I haven't been able to talk to him since the attack. I only get to speak to him for a minute or two. He is so disoriented that he cannot understand what I am saying. He's in a state of shock," says Syeda Ruquiya Fatima, wife of Mazahir Ali, a 35-year-old Indian student in Chicago.

Ali was seriously injured after being chased and attacked by four armed robbers near his house at Campbell Ave in Chicago on Sunday, 4 February.

A video surfaced online, which showed Ali covered in blood and saying he was attacked by four men, who even pointed a gun at him, and ran away with his phone while he was returning home.

One of Ali's friends contacted Fatima, who lives in Hyderabad and informed her about the incident on Sunday evening. Ali was alone when the incident happened but realised he was being followed and tried contacting his friends in the apartment.

"He dialled his friend's number and kept the phone in his pocket, he couldn't do much after that because he was attacked."
Syeda Ruquiya Fatima, Ali's wife

Ali was taken to the hospital and had a body check-up. "He's on bed rest, there is nobody to take care of him. His roommates are trying their best, but then they have college and assignments to do," Fatima tells The Quint.

Early this week, Fatima appealed to the Government of India to issue an emergency visa for her and her children so that she could travel and take care of her husband. "I'm not financially strong, I do need the government's help to travel to Chicago. My husband is not able to walk, let alone travel," the 27-year-old says.

'It's His Dream To Study in The US'

Ali is pursuing his Master's degree at Indiana Wesleyan University in Chicago and moved to the US around four months ago. He had been working in an IT company in Hyderabad for the last eight years. But he wanted to study further for a better job opportunity.

"It was his big American dream to do his masters in the US. He worked hard and saved money to go to the US. I did not want to discourage him, I wanted him to pursue his dream and finish his education."

Back home, Fatima is staying with her three children. Her eldest daughter is four years old and the youngest is just eight months old. "It's been three to four days since I slept properly. I shudder at the thought of what my husband has gone through. I can't imagine what it is to have a gun pointed at you and brutally beaten. I have three kids. If something had happened to him, I don't know what I would have done," says Fatima, speaking to The Quint over the phone.

Fatima tried not to alarm her children by telling them what happened, but her four-year-old daughter somehow got to know about it, she says.

"My eldest daughter, who is four years old, learned what happened to her father. She kept crying and asking me to tell Papa to return home. It's difficult to calm her down."

There, however, is still no news about Ali's attackers. They are still out there. "All we know is that the investigation is still on, we have received no update from the police. Imagine, it's so traumatic for my husband that the attackers are still out there," says Fatima.

As reported in other publications, an hour after Ali's attack, police said, another armed robbery happened nearby.

What The MEA, Telangana Govt And The Consulate General of India in Chicago Said

On 8 February, in its weekly press conference, the Ministry of External Affair Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said, “The Indian consulate in Chicago is in touch with both the family and Ali, he’s a student there. We are trying to see how best to help him with medical aid. Also, to ensure his well-being. I understand that the local police have registered a case, and the consulate is there to provide all possible support.”

He further stated that the MEA is actively working to provide medical aid and support to Ali, who is now under the care of local authorities.


On Wednesday, 7 February, the office of Telangana Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy requested External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to look into the incident. “Very disconcerted to learn of the attack on Syed Mazhar Ali, a student from #Hyderabad, by four robbers in #Chicago. This follows a fatal attack on B. Shreyas Reddy, who was killed in Ohio. I request Hon’ble External Affairs Minister @DrSJaishankar ji to kindly convey our concerns over safety of our students and citizens living there,” the CM office said in a post on X.

And on 6 February, the Consulate General of India in Chicago said on X (formerly Twitter) that it was in touch with Ali and his wife in India and assured all possible assistance. “The consulate has also contacted the local authorities who are investigating the case,” it said. 

Fatima has appealed to the Indian Government to ensure that her husband gets medical and legal assistance there (US). "I just want the Indian government to help us, looking for a positive response from them. I want to go to my husband and ensure he gets better soon."

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Topics:  Hyderabad   South India   diaspora 

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