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Teachers to skip classes

Dhubri, May 22: Members of the Goalpara District Teachers’ Co-ordination Committee will not take classes tomorrow and the day after in protest against the district administration and police inaction to rescue headmaster Kameswar Rabha and Sharit Rabha, who were abducted by suspected GNLA militants on May 13.

The police have not been able to find any trace of the hostages even after eight days.

Kameswar Rabha, headmaster of Hatigaon-Belpara Lower Primary School and Sharit Rabha, 30, an activist of All Rabha Students’ Union, were abducted from Daogiri near the Assam-Meghalaya border, where they had gone for preparation of electoral rolls. The motorbike which they were riding has not been found either.

Abdus Samad Sarkar, president of the teachers’ committee, said they had demonstrated in front of the office of deputy commissioner and submitted a memorandum to get the hostages released.

“It has been eight days since they were kidnapped and the police are yet to trace them. We will refrain from attending classes on May 23 and 24 and if they are not rescued or freed, we will intensify the movement,” Sarkar said.

A GNLA cadre identified as Lipping T. Sangma, 25, was apprehended by the army from Nowapara in Goalpara district yesterday. A US-made 7.62mm pistol with magazine and two rounds of ammunition was recovered from him.

An army source said on specific information provided by the Paikan army camp, Sangma was arrested from Nowpara after a hot chase. The militant confessed he had entered the area to trigger an ethnic clash in the Assam-Meghalaya border villages, the source said. Sangma belongs to the Rahul faction of the GNLA. Kasikagra village under Krishnai police station of Goalpara district is simmering with tension following a clash between security forces and villagers on May 18.

But after intervention by the district administration and peace meetings in the area, life is slowly limping back to normal. Bhupen Das, circle inspector of Dudhnoi, said the situation was under control.

“Security forces are on alert to foil any attempt to create ethnic trouble in Goalpara and the arrest of a GNLA cadre shows we are taking no chances this time,” Das claimed.

Last year, ethnic clashes continued for over a week while curfew was clamped along the Assam-Meghalaya border area for a month. Hundreds of Rabha and Garo people were displaced in the clashes but later rehabilitated.