x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Emirati youth suffering from epilepsy missing in India

Emirati teenager Khalid Al Hosani, 19, who was in India to receive treatment for epilepsy, has been missing since Friday.

DUBAI // An Emirati teenager who has epilepsy has been missing in India since Friday last week.

Khalid Al Hosani, 19, went to India with his father and uncle on October 1 to receive treatment from a neurologist.

His mother, at home in Abu Dhabi, believes an Indian man of her son's age is behind Khalid's disappearance.

Khalid, who speaks only Arabic, went missing on Friday in Bangalore's Pulikeshi Nagar area, minutes before he was due for his daily seven-hour treatment at a nearby clinic.

"He had met this guy and they were spending time together on a daily basis," said Umm Khalid. "He also disappeared the same time as my son. I think they are together.

"I think he is in one of the nearby houses. Whether he has gone there voluntarily or by force I am not sure, but my instinct tells me he is in the neighbourhood."

Police dismissed her suspicions, however, saying the man suspected by the family was a beggar who coincidentally stopped coming to the area at the same time Khalid disappeared.

"They have passed information that they suspect someone," a police spokesman said. "We have checked the neighbourhood and he is a beggar."

Ali Abdullah, Khalid's uncle, told of the day his nephew went missing.

"On that day he got ready and said he was waiting for us in the reception," Mr Abdullah said.

"It was around 10.30am and after 20 minutes his father and I went down too, but we could not find him anywhere."

Khalid is the second Emirati to go missing in India in the past two months. In August, Saleh Al Abdouli, 47, a retired police officer from Fujairah, was found outside a Hindu temple after he disappeared for 17 days.

Mr Abdullah said he initially thought the teenager might have gone to the clinic on his own but they did not find him there.

"He has been in a very bad condition and was in the intensive-care unit before we brought him to India after some people recommended a good neurologist," he said.

Khalid, who has been epileptic since the age of six, previously had as many as five attacks a day. His condition was improving since he started treatment in Bangalore.

The family is leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to find him.

"We are searching everywhere for him," said Ismail Al Hosani, Khalid's father. "We are not able to eat or sleep. The only thing we do all day is wander around the city's streets with the hope of finding him.

"Tens of thoughts cross my mind all the time. Anything could have happened to him. Someone could have kidnapped him or he may have got a seizure and is lying somewhere."

Mr Al Hosani said Indian authorities were not doing enough to find his son, who is the oldest of seven siblings.

"We do not understand much of the procedures taken by Indian authorities and it does not seem that they are doing enough," he said.

But police said they had launched a hunt for Khalid and had notified hospitals and mosques in the vicinity.

"We are trying to find him," a spokesman at the Pulikeshi Nagar police station said. "We have not been able to trace him so far.

"They have not given us a clear photo and we have asked them to supply us with a proper picture. We want to publicise his disappearance on television channels but we need a better picture."

The spokesman said police had requested mosques in the area to announce his name and details so people could provide them with information.

Khalid's father said they planned to remain in India until his son was found.

"We will not leave this country until we find him, even if it takes several months," Mr Al Hosani said.

"We accept God's rule, we will accept anything, but we want to find him."

wissa@thenational.ae

pkannan@thenational.ae