Friday 20 April 2018

Irish man whose wife is missing in India: 'I believe she is alive, but in grave danger'

"I just know she's alive, don't ask me why, I just know..."

Liga Skromane was on a holistic treatment retreat in Kerala, India when she disappeared
Liga Skromane was on a holistic treatment retreat in Kerala, India when she disappeared

Kathy Armstrong

A distraught Irish man whose wife has been missing in India for more than three weeks said he is certain she is still alive, but fears she is in "grave danger."

Andrew Jordan described the Indian police "incompetent" and claims he does not trust them to find his wife Liga Skromane (33).

Liga, who is originally from Latvia but is based in Dublin, suffered a mental breakdown last August. She later tried to take her own life and has been unwell since.

Andrew explained that she travelled with her sister Ilze to Kerala, India on February 4 to avail of a six week holistic Ayurvedic treatment.

On March 14 she left the treatment centre and was last seen chatting to people at Kovalam beach. There have been no confirmed sightings of her since and she left her passport and phone in the resort.

Andrew arrived in India on March 17 and said he was unimpressed by the police investigation.

Liga Skromane went missing on March 14
Liga Skromane went missing on March 14

Speaking on Liveline on RTE Radio One today, he said: "The police officer there told me everything was being done but when I started asking probing questions I realised nothing had been done, they just presumed that she was another holidaymaker gone awry and that she would turn up in a few days.

"It took us two weeks to get the police to even start looking at CCTV for her, it was only after getting international pressure from the Latvian and Irish embassies and talking to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

"In the last week or so the police are telling everyone about how much resources they're putting into it and how they have 300 men on the case but none of this is actually true, they're only really starting to look into this now, before that they weren't investigating any of the leads that I was giving to them or any of the sightings.

"I don't want this to be about criticising the Indian authorities but I do think they failed miserably in the early stages of the investigation, they missed the early signs.

"I hope they change their attitudes now and start to take it more seriously and fulfill their promises...

"They refused to investigate this as kind of foul play, for two weeks they said this never happened, said tourists are gold and way too valuable, they laughed when we asked them to investigate if it's a kidnapping.

"Only in the last few days have they started to investigate that, for two and a half weeks they let the trail go cold."

He said that he has put up around 5,000 posters and spoke to more than 10,000 people locally to try to raise awareness about the search for Liga but feels the media and police in India could be doing more.

Liga Skromane's husband Andrew Jordan is desperate for information about what happened to her
Liga Skromane's husband Andrew Jordan is desperate for information about what happened to her

"The Indian media basically have a blackout on this, there have been a handful of articles in the paper, none of them showing a clear picture of Liga or pleading for information with a phone number.

"It's like the media don't want this covered, tourism is a huge economic element in this part of India and it seems like the police and the media have been doing everything to try to suppress this.

"All of the Western tourists that I'm come across at the beach where she went missing had no idea about this, most of the locals hadn't been told about this either.

"Police told me they'd told every station in the radius but when I arrived on the Saturday I went to the place where she was last seen, I was three or four kilometres to the nearest station and they weren't even aware that she was missing, so four days after Liga went missing the main police station weren't even aware of it," Andrew claimed.

He said that after receiving differing accounts of sightings of Liga in a hotel he was "stonewalled" and lost his temper and ended up getting into a physical altercation with the manager.

He alleges that he was then detained by police and held in a hospital for six days, before he was sent back to Ireland.

Andrew is now trying to raise awareness about the search amongst the Indian community in Ireland and is also fundraising for a reward for information about her disappearance.

The Indian police told RTE Radio One's Liveline that they are treating it as a closed case.

An emotional Andrew said he believes his wife is still alive and he wants to do everything he can to try and find her.

Andrew said: "I know that she's alive and that she is in grave danger and the police are completely incompetent and ineffective, I don't trust them to find her.

"I just know she's alive, don't ask me why, I just know...

"If I was given a rupee for every time I was told to relax and chill out and go back to my hotel, I would be a very rich man, I wouldn't have to crowd-fund for the reward.

"The initial reward that was put up by her sister was for about €1,400, which is about a year's salary over there, I thought it should be bigger but I didn't push it.

"When we did eventually get an audience with the DGP, who is basically the commissioner of police, he decided to increase the reward and that's basically all he did, they put it up to basically €2,000.

"The advice that I'm getting from my friends in Ireland is first to reach out to the Indian community here in Ireland to try to get some media attention and to increase the reward to get the Indian media's attention because they have basically been assigned away from the story.

"We're now offering 100 lakh, which is basically a million rupees, or €10,000.

"I haven't sourced it but I'm going to set up a crowd-funding campaign to help.

"I need to get back to India to help with the search for my wife, I'm stone broke after all of this but I'm going to try to get a flight as quick as I can."

He continued to say: "There's no point looking for a body now, the most important thing I think is to try to find Liga if she's in trouble, she might be held by a gang.

"They might be afraid to release her because they know that sh*t's going to hit the fan if they do.

"She could be sick in some house somewhere people are caring for her and they might not know she is missing or they could be afraid to go to the authorities, everyone is afraid of the authorities over there.

"I'm working off the presumption that she is alive so I see all these body searches as a waste of time and a waste of resources, if her body shows up that's fine and good, we can't do anything about that.

"But if she is alive then all of the resources should be focused on finding her."

Andrew met Liga at a festival in Cork five years ago, and they have been living together in Dublin since.

He said: "She's a wonderful human being, incredibly sensitive, very delicate and she's gone through a lot of struggles and mental difficulties."

Independent.ie has contact Kerala Police for comment.

  • If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article you can contact the Samaritans for free on 116 123

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