An 18-year-old Indian medical student who went missing from Pokhara in Nepal five days ago has been found safe but apparently drugged at a town near Kathmandu, the family said.
Five months ago, when Indian doctor TK Usmani admitted son Tarim Usmani for studies at the Manipal Medical College and Teaching Hospital in Pokhara, he had not foreseen the anxiety and trauma both of them would have to undergo.
On October 28, Tarim reportedly hopped into a cab around 7:30 pm to go shopping but never returned.
When his anxious friends informed the college authorities, they contacted his family at Bagdogra in West Bengal's Darjeeling district.
Tarim's frantic father rushed to Pokhara to search for him. He also advertised in the local papers, offering a reward for information about his son's whereabouts.
On Sunday, his younger son in Bagdogra received a call from Nepal. Made from a mobile phone, the call was from his missing brother.
Tarim told him the taxi went into a different direction and he was overpowered by a group of men. However, he had the impression that it was a case of mistaken identity.
The kidnappers had intended to abduct someone else. When he was told that his father was in Pokhara searching for him, Tarim made the phone call.
"He told us he was in Narayanghat (a town near Kathmandu)," Usmani told IANS.
Escorted by a police inspector, Usmani rushed to Narayanghat, reaching there around 1.30 a.m. Monday. Although Tarim appeared drugged and exhausted, he was otherwise in good health.
"He told us that on Sunday they put him into a bus and later made him walk for nearly one and a half hours to reach Narayanghat where they released him," Usmani said.
The relieved Usmanis are now going back to Darjeeling so that Tarim can meet his anxious mother. He is likely to return to his classes.
This is at least the fourth scare over a missing Indian medical student in Nepal.
While one was abducted from Kathmandu and released after his family paid an unspecified ransom, one committed suicide after failing his exams and one ran away after doing badly in his exams.
A doctor at the Manipal Medical College left abruptly after reportedly receiving threatening calls from extortionists.