Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Irish Journalist missing in India

-CHARLIE TAYLOR
The family of an Irish man who has been missing for more than a month while backpacking in India, have appealed for assistance in tracing him. Jonathan Spollen (28), a freelance writer and journalist from Ranelagh, has not been seen or heard from since February 3rd. Mr Spollen, who has been based in Hong Kong working for the 'International Herald Tribune' until recently, was last known to be in Rishikesh, in the state of Uttarakhand in northern India.
It is thought he may have been planning on going a trek at the time of his disappearance having changed his mind about a trip to Delhi to meet up with a friend. Mr Spollen had arrived in India from Nepal in late November and was planning to leave the country by February 21st, when his visa was due to expire.
His father David Green has travelled to India to join in the search for him. Mr Spollen's mother, who last spoke to him on the day he went missing, said it was completely out of character for Jonathan to be out of contact with her for so long. "Jonathan has lived overseas for a number of years and has always been good at keeping in touch," said Lynda Spollen.

"We are 75 per cent confident that he may still be in the Rishikesh area and we don't think he has left the country." Ms Spollen said that friends who had seen Jonathan shortly before he went missing had commented on the fact that he had lost weight."Jonathan was planning to come to Ireland before his visa expired and when I was last speaking to him had said he might take a trek before he left. Our concern is that he may have picked up a virus of some kind while trekking because he maybe wasn't as fit as he thought he was. We are worried that something may have befallen him." Ms Spollen said her son would have been determined to leave India before his visa expired.
"Originally, Jonathan wanted to stay in the country for a while and travel from the south to the north but was only able to obtain a three-month visa. However, as a journalist the last thing he would have wanted to do was to overstay in the country because he wouldn't have wanted blots on his copybook. His intention would always have been to try and get out in time rather than overstay," she said.
"Jonathan hadn't been home since April last and so the idea was to head home and be here in Ireland for a while and then see what he would do next," she added.The Department of Foreign Affairs is providing consular assistance to the family. Anyone with possible information regarding Jonathan is asked to contact *Ms Spollen at : lyndaspollen@eircom.net  (Emma Lane-Spollen, Deputy CEO, One Foundation, The Warehouse, 35 Barrow Street, Dublin 4, Ireland. Tel: 01-808 8800)
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Dear friends in India,
Do forgive me for sending this far and wide. Ireland being a small place, the Irish cousin of a woman who used to work in my current place of work has disappeared in Rishikesh, Uttarkhand. I thought I could do my bit by sending this to all Indian folks on my contact list. Apologies for casting such a wide net, but in case you have any connections around there perhaps you might circulate the info below in case it helps to find this guy. Many thanks for your help, apologies for the out of the blue email, and hope you're all well, healthy, happy, doing interesting things etc.
Yours in solidarity, Fleachta 
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