A Kashmiri boy, beaten up in a case of mistaken identity at a Greater Noida private university earlier this month, has gone missing for the last four days, and police here claim that he is in Kashmir's militancy-hit Pulwama district, officials said Wednesday.
The first-year graduate student, identified as Ahtesham Bilal Sofi, a resident of downtown Srinagar, had gone missing on Sunday, prompting police to launch a thorough probe.
The 17-year-old was beaten up in a case of mistaken identity at the Sharda University in October when a scuffle broke out between Indian and Afghan students on its campus.
The Uttar Pradesh Police claimed that he took a flight to Srinagar and his phone was on till 4.30 pm Sunday. His last location was in Pulwama, it said.
Following his first semester examinations, Ahtesham had sought permission from the university's officials to go to Delhi on Sunday, but he has not returned since then, police here said.
"He had last spoken to his father, who lives in Srinagar, at 4.30 pm on Sunday and told him that he was returning from Delhi to the university while a search of his mobile phone location revealed he was in Pulwama at that time and his phone went off after that," a police official here told PTI.
"The Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) has confirmed that the student took a flight to Srinagar on Sunday. He had booked a GoAir ticket to Srinagar on October 26 for the October 28 1.30 pm flight. A video footage from the airport has confirmed his presence in the airport on Sunday," the official said.
The student's father Bilal Ahmed Sofi, 43, said the family in Srinagar has also approached the local Khanyar police station with a missing complaint.
"His mother is ill and I was returning from the hospital when I talked to him on Sunday. When I asked him which places he visited in Delhi, he told me that he would send me the pictures.
"But when I called him up again at 6.30 pm his phone was switched off," Bilal Ahmed, who runs a sanitary hardware shop in Srinagar, told PTI over the phone.
Ahtesham is the elder son of Bilal Ahmed, who also has a daughter who is studying in Class 6.
He had joined the university in September and had got beaten up during the scuffle between Indian and Afghan students on the campus early October.
"When I got to know of the incident, I went to his university. I was told by some to get an FIR lodged but at the time I thought it was a small matter between students which could be resolved by them so I did not approach the police," Bilal Ahmed said.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti tweeted, "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."
Station House Officer, Knowledge Park police station, Arvind Pathak said the police were probing the case and were in contact with their counterparts in Srinagar as well as in touch with Ahtesham's family.
(With inputs from agencies.)