A farmer from Kerala, who was in Israel as part of a state government delegation to study the latest techniques of farming there, has been missing since February 17.
Biju Kurien (42), from Iritti in Kannur district was part of a delegation of 27 farmers led by state agriculture secretary B. Ashok, reportedly contacted his wife and informed her that he was safe and to look for him.
The farmer was selected for the Israeli trip as part of the state government programme after qualifying in an online selection process. Sources in the state government told IANS that he seems to have gone underground in Israel where a large Keralite population was living and doing work like home care and nursing.
Biju Kurien had paid for his to and fro air ticket to Israel, but he got the visa due to the recommendation from the state government. Getting an Israeli visa is a tough proposition and once he landed in that country, he went underground.
Sources in the immigration department told IANS that he would have gone underground to resurface later after his visa expires in May and then apply to the Human Rights body in Israel to continue his stay, and there are lawyers who can support such an application.
The Kerala agriculture department officials, who contacted the brother of Biju Kurien, were informed that he had contacted his wife and later the phone was switched off.
Sources in the delegation, who were with Biju told IANS, that he was regularly calling his friends and acquaintances in Israel and would probably have got shelter with some of them.
The Kerala delegation complained to the Indian embassy in Israel and the police officers from Israel commenced a probe by reaching his hotel room.
The delegation will be returning to India Sunday without Biju Kurien.