A day after tension erupted over the disappearance of a Kashmiri student from Sharda University in Greater Noida, the Gautam Buddh Nagar police said they have traced the last known location of Ehtisham Bilal to Srinagar.
On Wednesday, the matter attracted political attention with former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti taking to Twitter to urge Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to launch a search for the 17-year-old student.
“Cause of grave concern that Ehtishaam Bilal, a student at Sharda University who was assaulted is reportedly missing. Request @rajnathsingh ji to take note of it and direct the authorities to track him at the earliest [sic],” Ms. Mufti tweeted.
The Kashmiri student, who had joined the university in September, was allegedly beaten up in a case of mistaken identity on campus in October when a scuffle broke out between Indian and Afghan students.
The first-year student, a resident of Srinagar, had gone missing on Sunday, prompting the police to launch a probe.
The Uttar Pradesh Police claimed that he took a flight to Srinagar and his phone was on till 4.30 p.m. on Sunday. The police claimed that his last location was in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police, however, could not establish his present location.
After his first semester exam, Ehtisham had sought permission from the university to go to Delhi on Sunday. He did not return from the Capital, the police said.
“He had last spoken to his father Bilal Ahmed Sofi, who lives in Srinagar, at 4.30 p.m. on Sunday and told him that he was returning from Delhi to the university. A search of his mobile phone location revealed he was in Pulwama at that time and his phone was turned off after that,” said a senior police officer.
‘Bought air tickets’
“The Indira Gandhi International Airport has confirmed that the student took a flight to Srinagar on Sunday. He booked a GoAir ticket to Srinagar on October 26 for the October 28 1.30 p.m. flight. Video footage from the airport has confirmed his presence at the airport on Sunday,” the official said.
The student’s father said that the family in Srinagar has approached the local Khanyar police station with a missing person complaint.
“His mother is ill. I was returning from the hospital when I talked to him on Sunday. When I called him up again at 6.30 p.m. his phone was switched off,” said Mr. Sofi, who runs a hardware shop in Srinagar.