Fleeing foreigners were bonafide Iranian visitors

The Iranians who went missing in Bhubaneswar were tourists and not terrorists.

Bhubaneswar/Visakhapatnam: After hours of investigation the Vizag rural police on Thursday said that the Iranians who went missing in Bhubaneswar are tourists and not terrorists as feared by Odisha and AP governments.The three men and two women — a couple aged below 30 years, a couple of about 50 years and their 17-year-old son — who were travelling in a Delhi registered car were detained by Vizag rural cops near Nakkapalli in the district after the Odisha police alerted their AP counterparts.

SP (Visakha Rural) Dr Koya Praveen said the young couple came to India on December 28 and the older couple along with their son arrived in India on January 12 on tourist visas. After hiring a car from New Delhi they drove to Agra, Bihar, Assam, West Bengal and came to Bhubaneswar on January 25. After staying there overnight the following day they tried to check into another hotel and changed their mind at the last minute.

The Iranian tourists created a flutter in Bhubaneswar on the eve of Republic Day after the city’s Hotel Arya Mahal staff reported to the police about the suspicious exit of a man who had come to enquire about rooms. The visitors were said to have left the hotel on being asked to produce passports to book a room.
Following this, the Odisha police sounded an alert and sealed the entry and exit points to the city.

The foreigners drove to Srikakulam and stayed at a roadside dhaba on January 26. The next day they came to Vizag and were intercepted at Vempadu toll gate near Nakkapalle. The Vizag rural police chief said that they examined the passport and visas of the Iranians and found it to be genuine. The confusion was created when one of them left the hotel in Bhubaneswar after the management asked them to produce passports.

The Iranian left the Arya Mahal Hotel not because the staff demanded passports. The Iranian did not like the hotel and its tariff. There was also a communication gap as they were not well versed in English. The hotel did the right thing by alerting the police, said Mr Praveen.

Mr Praveen said they got information from the Odisha police at around 3 pm on Wednesday about the Iranians and the AP detained them at about 7 pm at Nakkapalle on the same day.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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