| Villagers block National Highway 15 at Dhekiajuli on Saturday. Picture by Pranab Kumar Das |
Tezpur, Jan. 11: Villagers of Gadhajuli today blocked National Highway-15 at Dhekiajuli, demanding release of a trader who was kidnapped yesterday by suspected NDFB (Songbijit faction) militants.
Akbar Ali, a resident of Gadhajuli under Dhekiajuli police station in Sonitpur district, had gone to the Sorchubari area, about 3km away, where a weekly market was held yesterday. The site is 35km from Tezpur and 200km from Guwahati.
Police said four men with AK-series rifles came on two bikes and abducted him at gunpoint around 11am. As soon as the news about the traderís abduction spread, irate villagers of the Gadhajuli area gheraoed Dhekiajuli police station and gave the police a 24-hour deadline to rescue the trader. They also staged a protest inside the police station.
Sonitpur superintendent of police, Arabinda Kalita, told this correspondent that the NDFB (S) was behind the incident and a search operation was on to rescue Ali. The residents today blocked NH-15 at Gadhajuli demanding immediate release of the trader.
They alleged militants have been taking advantage of weak policing and are openly carrying out illegal activities, including abductions and extortions in the area thereby posing a serious threat to the common people.
Circle officer, Dhekiajuli, A.K. Sarma and additional superintendent of police, Sonitpur, Siladitta Chetia have rushed to the spot.
For nearly an hour they tried to persuade the protesters that every possible step would be taken to rescue Ali. The blockade was finally withdrawn.