Four students go missing, teacher gets married during US trip

By Parminder Singh Bariana, IANS,

Hoshiarpur (Punjab) : Four students from a school in Garhshankar town in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur district have gone “missing” in the United States during their educational trip to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The teacher who accompanied them did not return either, but sent an e-mail saying that she had got married.

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The incident comes close on the heels of two students from a leading Jalandhar city school who went missing during an educational trip to the US.

The management of the Doaba Public School at Parowal on the outskirts of Garhshankar town, 45 km from here, have filed a complaint with the Punjab police that four of their students, all aged between 14 and 15 years, went missing on a school educational trip for a NASA rocket project last month.

A teacher, Minu Sharma, who accompanied the 19 students along with the school vice principal Harpreet Kaur, also did not return.

Sharma has now sent an e-mail to the school authorities saying that she had got married in the US and wanted leave for one month.

The students who have gone missing are Sumit Sahni, Baljinder Singh, Dalbir Singh and Arshdeep Rahil. All of them are from villages near Garhshankar town.

“We have filed a complaint with the police here. Our delegation leader also informed the US homeland security officials and the Indian embassy about the four missing students there,” school principal Balwinder Kaur told IANS.

The school delegation went to the US on a Lufthansa flight July 19. Three students went missing in Washington July 20 itself saying that they were hungry and were going to look for food. The fourth student, Dalbir Singh, ran away from his hotel room in Washington the very next day.

In a similar incident, two students, Paramjit Singh and Kunal Bhandari, of Jalandhar’s Dayanand Model School went “missing” in the US last month after accompanying a school delegation to an educational trip to NASA.

Hoshiarpur district police chief S.S. Gill said that the police had received a complaint from the school authorities but could do little over here in this matter.

“If the US police seek our assistance, we can help. Otherwise we can only forward the matter to the ministry concerned,” Gill said.

“We don’t know where these four students went. Our NASA project was about rockets,” fellow student Prabhjot Kaur, who returned this week, said.

Another student Robin said that three boys said that they were going to look for food and did not come back.

“The school is responsible for the missing students. I don’t know how this happened. But from my relatives, I have come to know that my son is in California,” said Manjit Singh, father of “missing” student Baljinder Singh.

Sumit’s father, Hargopal, who is a policeman, said that he had no idea about his son’s plans to stay back in the US.