Tezpur, Sept. 14: The Sonitpur district unit of Small Tea Growers Association today gave the administration a 12-hour deadline for the release of its member Bhadreswer Nath who was kidnapped by the Ranjan Daimary faction of the NDFB from Jaishidhi area along the Assam-Arunachal border yesterday.
The organisation today held a meeting with senior police officials and its members at Jaishidhi High School under Itakhola police station in Sonitpur district wherein they set the deadline for his release by noon tomorrow. Nath was kidnapped from his garden while he was monitoring plucking operations.
The meeting was presided over by Krishna Hazarika, a senior citizen of Jaishidhi, who said if the security personnel were unable to recover the trader then the local people would take some action.
The abductors have not contacted the family members or made any ransom demand till the time of filing this report.
Sources said the militant group may have taken him to Seijosa in Arunachal Pradesh.
Jitu Saikia, the district secretary of the association, said the meeting decided to move the government seeking arms licences to protect themselves from militants who are heavily into extortion in the interiors of Sonitpur district.
Several hundred people from the locality and nearby areas had responded to the abduction by taking “into custody” six youths roaming in the area around 9am today. They were released after four hours on the intervention of police.
Arabinda Kalita, Sonitpur superintendent of police, told The Telegraph that they would take help from the Arunachal police to trace Nath. Already Assam police commandos and CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) personnel of the CRPF are involved in the search operations.
Sources in the chief minister’s office said efforts were on to secure the release of Nath and the state government was coordinating with its Arunachal Pradesh counterpart based on reports that the militants may have sneaked into the neighbouring state.
Family members of Nath are hoping for his safe return. His brother Homeswar has requested the militant outfit to release his “elder brother safely”.