Alison remembered, after Sarah Groves` murder

The tragedy that struck Sarah Groves of Guernsey on Saturday as she was holidaying in Kashmir has brought back memories of Alison MacDonald.

Updated: Apr 07, 2013, 13:53 PM IST

Srinagar: The tragedy that struck Sarah Groves of Guernsey (UK) on Saturday as she was holidaying in Kashmir has brought back memories of another British tourist, 19-year-old Alison MacDonald, who disappeared 32 years ago.

While Sarah was allegedly murdered for unknown reasons by a Dutchman staying in the same houseboat, Alison walked out of her hotel in north Kashmir`s Sonamarg on August 17, 1981, never to return.

Investigations into the missing girl`s disappearance went on for years. Nobody knew her whereabouts, and her parents continue to hope that she would return.

Her disappearance remains a mystery to this day.

The visually-impaired father of the Scottish girl, Kenny MacDonald, and her mother, Reta, visited Kashmir 17 times since her disappearance, hoping to find their daughter alive.

In 2011, her father told a Scottish newspaper: "I have just a wee bit of sight left - just a weak streak. I think it`s been kept for Alison, to see her again. We will see her in this world again, of that we are sure, and it will be a great day."

The Ross-shire-based family, according to media reports, believed that Alison had joined nomadic tribes in the region, and could be found in Kashmir`s inaccessible hills.

Newspapers in London continued to run headlines of Alison`s disappearance long after local police declared that the young woman was "untraced" and the case was "closed".

A massive search operation was also started by the family in the Sonamarg area of the Valley, using low-flying helicopters. Hundreds of tribesmen and horses were roped into the effort to trace the British girl.

Till some years ago, the family would make a ritual visit to Hotel Glacier in Sonamarg every year. Alison had left her room from this hotel on that August morning of 1981.

While suspicion for Alison`s disappearance swung from security men to wild animal attacks, some locals believe that the abominable Himalayan snowman, "Yeti", had made off with the girl.

People in Kashmir hope Sarah Groves`s murder is solved quickly, and the murderer brought to justice.

"We are tourist-friendly, and cannot afford to have guests either disappearing under mysterious circumstances or murdered by fellow guests," said Abdul Rehman, 75, a houseboat owner here.

"We shall always remember her as a loving daughter. It is a state of mourning in our family," said Abdul Rahim Shoda, the owner of "New Beauty" houseboat where Sarah was found in a pool of blood with multiple stab wounds Saturday morning.