Worried parents of missing Preston student appeal to ‘join them asap’

Rupanjana Dutta Tuesday 24th March 2020 08:24 EDT

Parents of Indian-origin student originally from Pune, India who has gone missing from Preston, north-west England, has launched an emotional video plea for their son to get in touch and let them know that he is safe. 23-year-old Siddharth Murkumbi has been studying at University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) before disappearing on Sunday, 15th March. More popularly known as Sid to the family, he moved to Preston, to study MBA (Marketing) at UCLan in September 2019. 

His father Shankar said the family is frantic with worry for his welfare. In a statement he said, “Siddharth stays within the university campus and we came to know from his friends that he is untraceable from the night of 15th March and his mobile phone is also not reachable since then. On Monday 16th March a police complaint was launched with the help of his friends and the university.

“Since then I have been in regular touch with the Lancashire police and following up for updates...

“It has already more than one week and there seems to be not much progress in the investigation. Now Siddharth's mother is bed-ridden since the last 4 days and my health is also deteriorating due to lack of sleep since last 8 days.

“We are very concerned about Siddharth's well being. Now since last 3 days due to coronavirus the university campus has been under lock-down and students' movement has been restricted. Nonetheless due to obvious priority to coronavirus, search of my son has taken a back seat.

“I am also in touch with Mrs Happy Guptan (Consul, Community Affairs) at Birmingham consulate who has been helpful in pushing the police department so far. However with every passing day, it is getting frustrating and I am losing patience.”

In a video appeal, Shankar and Abha (Sid’s mum), with Sid’s friend Vibha and their pet cat, sent a teary message out, saying, "Siddharth you are most precious, nothing is more important than you, everything will be fine, please join us immediately.” Sid also has a 20-year-old brother Samarth, who is three years younger to him.

In a poster doing rounds, that is tweeted by the Consulate of India in Birmingham too, says, “Sid- Message from your Papa and Maa. You need to begin life afresh leaving behind the past. Contact Papa or Maa immediately. They are shocked and deep in grief, desperately waiting to hear from you. Nothing is more precious than you.”

Shankar reportedly said he had last spoken to his son at around 7pm (BST) on Sunday 15thMarch.

Sid had been in regular contact with his family after moving to Preston. Every day, between 7pm and 8pm, Sid would phone his parents to chat. He has no family in the UK and didn't have any friends in any other cities.

Lancashire Police believe he may have travelled to Preston Docks before going missing. The force said it is "very concerned" for his welfare and are urging anyone who might have seen him to come forward. PC Iann Skillander, of Lancashire Police in a statement said, "We are worried about Siddharth’s disappearance and would urge anyone who has seen him or knows where he is to come forward.

"Furthermore, I would ask Siddharth, if he sees this appeal, to come forward and let us know he is OK."

Siddharth is described as Asian, of stocky build with blond hair and a beard.

Anyone with information can contact police on 101 quoting log number 1362 of March 15.

Spokesperson from the British Indians Voice, a forum that helps Indians in the UK said, “We are in touch with Siddharth’s parents in Pune, India and giving them comfort in this difficult times. We also want to thank Preston local administration for their continuous efforts in search. We request parents and friends to have faith in God and pray for the safe return of Siddharth.”

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