AFTER a search across north Goa and border villages of Maharashtra for three days— the Goa Police finally traced a Russian national, whose photo had gone viral in the state with details of him having gone “missing”, and several conspiracy theories floating about his whereabouts.
The man has been found at The Institute of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour (IPHB), thus ending a very sensitive probe. With the entire machinery put towards law and order enforcement ensuring social distancing and curfew as a Covid-19 state response, an entire staff of officers found themselves doubling their work shift looking for the man.
“We finally found him at IPHB and are told he is undergoing a 21 day treatment. It’s a matter of relief that he was found,” said Utkrisht Prasoon, SP North Goa.
His case came to light when his wife first contacted Amit Satija, an IAS, and nodal officer now made in-charge for resolving concerns and transit of foreigners from Goa in the aftermath of the pandemic. “She texted me in Russian language and we involved a translator, taking help of another Russian tourist in Goa. What we understood was that he was to return on March 16 and had not,” said Satija talking to The Indian Express.
A series of interviews took place based on Satija’s findings, with the Goa police going to Morjem where he stayed as a guest. His photograph based on the details available from his wife and the FRRO office was then shared with the community of Russians residing in North Goa with many leads pieced together. “we also intimated Maharashtra Police to look for him in their border villages. In the meanwhile we checked at all health centres if any Russian had reached out with any symptoms for any checking as it’s such times,” said Prasoon.
Finally, search spread to north Goa beach zones where across Pernem district. The Police then found his friend who was his travel companion, who on phone said, he had no information on the person’s whereabouts, as “he was an adult and he can go anywhere”.
Finally the police went looking with the photograph to all hospitals and finally got information of him being at IPHB. “Our controls seem to have got information that he had created nuisance on an earlier date and was warned. Limited information now reveals that from Morjim, he went to Siolim and was finally at Merces when he seems to have caused concern to people around. This could also be due to language issues and we are trying to understand what could have happened and how he got admitted in the hospital. He is resting at the hospital and is doing well, so we will probe later,” said Prasoon.
Usually for any person to be admitted to IPHB there are different procedures. If a person is to be admitted by the police, then they need permission from Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Court.
“Our offices are in touch with the Russian Embassy and we are doing our best to help his family. I have personally assured the family too,” said Satija. Till date Satija’s office has co-ordinated with embassies and airport authorities and ensured safe transit to 3330 foreigners through 19 chartered flights to countries like Canada, USA and many European airports.
Meanwhile the administration is now probing the case of another Russian named Valenti who was found inside a cave. He was rescued by the lifeguards after water levels rose and he sought help.
“During a routine patrol by the lifeguard stationed at the Keri beach area, lifeguard Girish Talkar spotted a man in a small narrow cave along the shoreline. He seemed to be in obvious distress as the cave was flooding rapidly due to the high tide. The male also appeared to be physically challenged as he was unable to walk,” read a statement from Drishti Lifeguards. The victim has now been shifted to a hospital and he is being treated for dehydration. In the early days of lockdown, many foreigners were left stranded without food and water which has now been resolved, according to Goa Government.
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