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Goans in UK pray for missing Indian

india Updated: Jan 20, 2009 22:07 IST
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The Goan community in Britain has come together to pray for the safe return of an Indian-origin boy- Jonathan Marques, who is reportedly missing since January 6.

Prayer meetings have been organised in Reading and London while the local police continue to search rivers and other areas for Jonathan.

A public campaign has been launched here to locate the 15-year-old who moved to Britain three years ago with his parents. He, however, was reported to be unhappy with the move and wanted to return to Goa.

Over the weekend, Jonathan's parents, Menino Marques and Arcanja Afonso Marques, led a march to retrace their boy’s last known steps followed by hundreds of family, friends and well-wishers.

The march followed a mass at St James’s Church in Fobney Road.

"The family are very upset and we do not know what to do now. We are very worried and if Jonathan can hear this, please we miss you a lot, your mummy and daddy and your sisters and brother want to embrace you.

"Just come back or ring us, we want to hear your voice, that is all," Marques said.

The event was attended by people from the Goan community from Reading, Swindon, where the Marqueses have family, Maidenhead and London as well as Alok Sharma, the Conservative prospective Parliamentary candidate for Reading West, who has been supporting the family in their campaign.

Speaking at the march, Sharma said, "We wanted to march together as a community to the area where Jonathan was last seen in the hope that we may jog someone’s memory so that someone may come forward with some new information.

"The family are being incredibly brave. As a father of young children myself, I cannot imagine how they are feeling right now and I think it is tremendous the community has come together to support them like this."

Jonathan, a pupil at Blessed Hugh Faringdon School, had been in Britain for three years was reportedly unhappy in Reading and wanted to move back to India. A suitcase packed with his belongings was found in his home.

He had not taken his passport and had no money or clothes, only the rucksack he had for school and his school uniform he wore.

Police spokeswoman Andrea Bennett said, "The police are very much focusing their search in the local area and as yet have not done anything with the Wiltshire Police in Swindon.

"They are working through all possible avenues to try to find any information that could lead to Jonathan."

Police have searched the family home, taking Jonathan’s laptop for clues, and conducted house-to-house inquiries. They are also looking at CCTV footage and mobile phone records.

George Afonso, Jonathan’s uncle, said, "Since Jonathan has gone missing we are trying to bring to the notice of everyone in England that he has disappeared.

"We want to know he is safe and for him to know that we miss him. The police are doing a great job and are doing everything they can but we have no clue as to where he is."