IMPHAL, April 19 - Khomdram Gambhir, the 66-year-old man who had been missing from his home in Manipur for the last 40 years, was accorded a warm welcome on his return to his native village today. His family came to know about his whereabouts after he was spotted on the streets of Mumbai in a video circulating on YouTube.
Gambhir hails from Khumbong Mamang Leikai village in Imphal West district and is a former rifleman of the Manipur Rifles. He left home without informing anyone some time in 1978, according to family sources. Gambhir, who separated from his wife three months after marriage, is the third among six siblings.
A year after his disappearance, his family had made enquiries in Mizoram but could not trace him. Forty years later, Leichonbam Romen, a resident of Khumbong, shared a YouTube video featuring Gambhir in a local WhatsApp group called �Khumbong E-pao� (Khumbong News) on the occasion of Cheiraoba, the Manipuri New Year�s Day, on April 14.
The video was forwarded by Romen�s engineer friend, A Dinamani, who is an assistant professor at the NERIST in Itanagar, after Mumbai-based photographer Firoze Mohomed Shakir uploaded it on YouTube in October 2017, according to Atom Samarendra, secretary of the Imphal West Students� Club, Khumbong.
Based on information provided by Gambhir�s younger brother, Kulachandra (57), two Manipur police officers went to Mumbai on Tuesday last. After completing the requisite formalities with their counterparts at the Bandra Police Station in Mumbai, they returned with Gambhir today.
On their arrival at the Imphal airport, the local people of Khumbong held placards which read �Thank you Mumbai Police, Thank you Manipur Police�, �Thank you YouTube, Thank you WhatsApp�. Lok Sabha member Dr Th Meinya and local MLA Dr Sapam Ranjan also welcomed Gambhir with garlands.
Apart from his family members, the local residents and neighbours are also happy over Gambhir�s return. Kulachandra�s wife, Memcha (55), said: �We are so happy that we feel like crying.�
Later, speaking to media persons in Hindi, Gambhir expressed happiness at his warm reception and said that he wanted to stay in his village by making a living on his own.