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Once bitten by the travel bug, Pietermaritzburg nurse Isra Devi Lutchman has sworn not to travel overseas again after the hell she experienced when a bullet was found in her luggage at an airport in India.
Local advocate Rumen Maistry, who flew to India to assist Lutchman, says he is assisting with a similar case in India, involving a KwaZulu-Natal man.
Maistry said he had learnt that an engineering graduate from Nottingham Road in the Midlands had also been detained in India, on a similar charge.
Imran Hoosen, 22, was arrested at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport in December.
Although released on bail recently he was not allowed to leave Mumbai where he had been moved. His family could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
Lutchman was with her sister and brother-in-law on holiday when she was arrested at the same airport on February 19 and charged with contravening India’s Firearms Act.
She was detained for four days in an Indian prison before being released on bail. She could not leave India as her passport had been confiscated.
Lutchman arrived home last week an emotional wreck. It had been her fourth trip to India, but now she said she was not going to leave South Africa again.
“I would rather go to the beach than abroad.”
Her passport was eventually returned on condition she paid R70 000 as security. The investigating officer had 90 days from the date of her arrest to formulate a charge sheet and would then let her know when she had to appear in court.
Maistry said he did not expect Lutchman to be present in court in India when the charge sheet was presented.
In the police cells she had to sleep on the concrete floor. Her sister and brother-in-law were not allowed to visit her.
“I went into depression. There were fist fights, verbal abuse. It was very scary.”
She befriended two young women, who supported, protected and prayed with her.
When Lutchman was granted bail, her sister came to fetch her.
“We hugged each other and just cried and cried.”