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Farm owner rescued

Itanagar, May 3: A man kidnapped by alleged Bodo militants from the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border earlier this week has been rescued by police after an encounter with the abductors, Arunachal Pradesh director-general of police S. Nithianandam said here today.

Two alleged National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB-S) militants were also arrested in the operation. Nithianandam said Keshav Pandey, a cattle farm owner near Kartung in Pasighat, East Siang district, was abducted around 7pm on April 29. The abductors cut off the power supply and took the 65-year-old victim in a boat down the Siang river and into Assam.

Pandey, for whose release the abductors made a ransom demand of Rs 50 lakh on May 2, owns about 600 cows and makes a living supplying milk. Police said they found a lead after interrogating two men who worked at Pandey’s farm, after which they picked up Bijit Boro, who revealed the possible involvement of a man identified as Sothal Mushahari from Assam’s Dhemaji district.

Mushahari, police said, revealed the kidnap plot. A platoon each of CRPF and armed Arunachal policemen headed by East Siang SP Devendra Arya then proceeded towards Dhemaji where they picked up two more suspected militants after raiding various hideouts. The team then obtained more leads from interrogating these two and moved towards a forest hideout about 4km in the woods. There they cordoned off the suspected hideout and asked the group to surrender.

The abductors shot at the team, to which police responded with stun grenades. As the encounter continued, the abductors ordered the victim to run towards the police team.

Soon after Pandey was in their custody, police ran after the militants and caught two of them. Three others, however, escaped.

The DGP said there were no casualties in the encounter and that no arms or ammunition were recovered.

Workshop: A three-day national-level workshop on preservation of the Tai group of languages, which concluded at Jaya Bhawan in Jorhat today, mooted bringing all Tai languages together through rationalisation of the script and bridging the gap between different Tai communities, reports our correspondent from Jorhat.


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