| Violence-affected villagers take shelter on the banks of the Beki. (AP) |
Guwahati, May 6: Dispur has requisitioned National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel to carry out a search operation in the Beki river for missing persons after the carnage at Narayanguri and Khagrabari in Baksa district since May 1.
Baksa deputy commissioner Vinod Seshan told The Telegraph today that a search and rescue team of the NDRF’s first battalion is on its way from Guwahati and they will launch a full-fledged search operation in the river from tomorrow morning. The team also has deep divers.
Seshan said the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) personnel today carried out search operation in the river for missing persons. “Apart from the SDRF personnel, CRPF men along with local volunteers searched the river in boats today,” he said.
Additional director-general of police (law and order), A. P. Raut, said 15 people are missing from the area. It is suspected that these persons could have drowned in the river while attempting to escape the attackers.
Many people, mostly women and children, had run towards the river, hoping to find a boat that would take them across and in the process some of them could have slipped into the swirling river.
Initially, 19 people were missing but subsequently four bodies were found floating in the river since Saturday.
The Beki is a distributary of the Manas that originates in Bhutan and flows through Manas National Park, before falling into the Brahmaputra.
The body of a woman was found on the banks of the Beki today in the Nonk Khagrabari village. The victim has been identified as Jahanara Begum of Nonk Khagrabari, which witnessed the worst violence. With the recovery of Begum’s body, the death toll in the area has gone up to 22 and the total to 33.
Her body has been sent to Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College and Hospital in Barpeta for autopsy.
The deputy commissioner said normality is returning to Baksa district as no fresh incidents of violence have been reported from any part of the district in the last 90 hours. A relief camp has been set up at Gobardhana where around 500 people are taking shelter. “We are providing them food and other necessary items,” Seshan said.
He said villagers, who fled after the attacks on May 1, have started returning.
Boga Ram Goyari, 52, who was assaulted while he was returning to Norsingbari from Gobardhana in Baksa district last Friday, passed away at Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College and Hospital today.