'Don't fear virus, only fear for Tarun's safety,' says missing teen's father

Updated: 10 August, 2020 08:26 IST | Gaurav Sarkar | Mumbai

Armed with protective gear against virus, Vinod Kumar, missing teen Tarun Gupta's father, and two of his friends embark on a state-wide search for him on Sunday

Tarun's father Vinod Kumar Gupta (right) with his friends before leaving for their road trip
Tarun's father Vinod Kumar Gupta (right) with his friends before leaving for their road trip

Vinod Kumar Gupta, father of missing autistic teenager Tarun Gupta and his two friends — Jayant Chowhan, a driver from Delhi and Bablu Khan, a taxi driver from Mumbai have left the city on Sunday evening on an indefinite state-wide search for Tarun.

The trio—armed with masks, sanitizers, gloves, immunity boosters and vitamin tablets have set their sights on searching the remote villages in Maharashtra.

Vinod, who has searched across at least eight different states up until now, says that there is a reason why they have narrowed down the search to only within the confines of Maharashtra.

"We feel that he may not have gotten very far since he was in a dishevelled shape, with his clothes slightly torn and mud on his body, which is why no TC or train official would let him travel on a train for too long," he said. "It takes at least 36 hours to exit the state via train in most cases. We feel he may not have travelled more than 1,000 km after which he was presumably taken off at some remote station."

When asked if he was slightly anxious about embarking on a road trip during a pandemic, Vinod said, "The fear I feel is not because of the Coronavirus, but only for the Tarun's safety. I am not worried about contracting the disease as long as Tarun is found. We will first search the remote villages near Pune, and then keep moving outwards. The three of us will only return to the city once, during the festival of Ganpati, since I and my wife have asked for a mannat to bring Tarun back home safe and sound."

"There is concern about the virus, but our top priority is to find Tarun as quickly as possible," said Bablu Khan.

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First Published: 10 August, 2020 08:14 IST

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