Britain to intensify search for missing Bangalore boy

Bangalore, Jan 16 (IANS) The British police would intensify the search for Souvik Pal, 19, who went missing from a nightclub in Manchester on New Year's Eve, junior Health Minister Anna Soubry said Wednesday. The boy's family resides in Bangalore.

"I think the Manchester police are doing everything they can to find him (Souvik). I have made private inquires to see if we can increase the publicity so that everybody across Britain is looking for him, because at the moment the publicity has been limited to Manchester. We need to go out of Manchester to find where he is so that he could be re-united with his family," Soubry told reporters here.

Souvik's family members, including mother Mahuya Pal and uncle Anupam Pal, called on Soubry to seek her help in tracing the youth who disappeared under mysterious circumstances Dec 31 night after he was reportedly evicted from the nightclub by bouncers for mistakenly entering the ladies' washroom.

"It is an honour to meet his mother and her despair is clear to all. I have spoken to my officials and asked the family's liaison officer in Manchester to speak to her directly in Bengali, her language, so that she can ask questions and find out exactly what's happening," Soubry said.

Souvik has been an undergraduate student of Manchester Metropolitan University, about 320 km from London, since Sept 2012.

"We sympathise with the family, which has been going through a tough time in the absence of any information on Souvik's whereabouts. We are only hoping that he will be traced soon," Soubry noted.

Souvik's father Shantanu Pal, a civil engineer in Saudi Arabia, flew to Manchester Jan 4 to help police in the search operations. He has been staying there since then in the hope of finding his eldest son.

Shantanu also distributed pamphlets with Souvik's picture and personal details to hundreds of people at the Manchester football stadium Sunday during a soccer match between Manchester United and Liverpool, in a desperate attempt to know if any of the football enthusiasts had seen his son.

Souvik called his parents Dec 31 night to wish them a happy new year, and told them that he would be going with his friends to celebrate the New Year at a nightclub.

"We first came to know Jan 2 that our son was not seen in the hostel after the New Year party. A complaint was lodged by Souvik's friends with police," a tearful Mahuya told IANS Jan 9.

Shantanu, who joined the Al Nahyan construction firm in Riyadh as an engineer last year, was in Bangalore then on a year-end holiday.

The Pals, who hail from Midnapore in West Bengal, have been living here since 2002 when Shantanu came to join Swedish major ABB India energy firm as an engineer.

Soubry, on a day-long official visit to the city with a delegation, called on Karnataka health minister Arvind Limbavalli at the state secretariat.

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