Dubai: Indian Border Security Force (BSF) officials were surprised to find a 20-year-old engineering student on July 17 trying to enter Pakistan on foot to meet a woman he had befriended on social media.
The man, identified as Zishan Mohammad Siddiqui, hails from Maharashtra, and he was arrested immediately by the officers.
The incident occurred in Gujarat's Rann of Kutch, while Siddiqui was trying to enter Pakistan on foot to meet a woman he had started talking to online, according to local media reports.
Kutch-East Superintendent of Police, Parikshita Rathod was quoted as saying: “Siddiqui was held by the BSF on Thursday night and later handed over to the local police.
"Police had issued an alert after a motorcycle with the Maharashtra registration number was found abandoned near Dholavira village in the Rann of Kutch on Thursday evening. The BSF later caught the man when he was found walking towards the border in a bid to enter Pakistan."
According to a police official from Maharashtra, Siddiqui, who is a resident of Khwajangar in Maharashtra's Osmanabad town, had left his home on a motorcycle on July 11 to meet the woman in Pakistan as no means of public transport was available during the lockdown.
"He went to Kutch on his motorcycle to cross the border and enter Pakistan," an official was quoted as saying.
After his motorcycle got stuck in the sand, he started walking towards Pakistan. The police official said that Siddiqui had been in touch with the Pakistani woman online for the past few months.
"After his disappearance, his family members had approached the Osmanabad city police station and lodged a missing person's complaint," a local police official told news outlets.
"Police launched a probe and Siddiqui's social media accounts were examined, in which it came to light that he has left home to meet the girl in Pakistan," he added.
Based on his mobile phone records, the cyber wing of the Osmanabad police traced his whereabouts, the official said.
He was traced near Kutch and the details were shared with the Gujarat police, he said.
A team of Osmanabad police has left for Kutch to take his custody and bring him back home, the official said.
A statement issued by the BSF in Gujarat said that after he was caught, Siddiqui told them that he was in a relationship with a Karachi-based girl. "He wanted to go to Pakistan and had used Google Maps for navigation. He was apprehended about 1.5 kilometres short of Indo-Pak international border when he was attempting to cross over to Pakistan. He was in a dehydrated state and revealed that he had gone unconscious for about two hours in the Rann [desert]," the statement read.