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2 abducted from hill district

Nagaon, March 15: Suspected Karbi militants abducted two labourers working under a private contractor in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district last night.

Sources said about 10 armed cadres of the Karbi Peoples Liberation Tigers (KPLT) dressed in fatigues arrived at the construction site of Balihjuri model hospital campus in the eastern part of Karbi Anglong and abducted Utpal Hazarika and Jan Bora, who were working at the site along with 45 others.

The hospital, 5km from the newly established Anjukpani police station, is one of the most remotely located health institutions under the hill district autonomous council.

“The group asked us the name and whereabouts of the contractor of the building. We told them the name and informed them that he was not at the site at that time. The team took away the mobile phones of those working at the site. They also took Utpal Hazarika and Jan Bora with them. Neither has been traced so far,” Nikhil Chakraborty, the site supervisor for the Nagaon-based Kothari Construction Ltd, told Anjukpani police.

The officer-in-charge of Anjukpani police station, Mukut Hazarika, said rescue operations were on. “The incident was not reported to us on time. Besides, we had asked the site manager to move carefully but it seems they were careless,” he added.

A source in Karbi Anglong police said they suspect the two persons have been kidnapped for ransom but the contractor has not intimated the police about any monetary demand so far. Anjukpani, on the Karbi Anglong-Nagaon border is known as the base of the KPLT since the outfit was floated in February 2010.

A primary school teacher of Anjukpani said, “Extortion is the biggest issue in these militant-dominated interior areas of Karbi Anglong. Here, each household has to pay an annual tax to the militants. Shop and vehicle owners have to pay them tax for using the hill district’s land for business. Even we have to pay a monthly tax from our salary.”

This is the second abduction by the KPLT in the district in the past 12 days. On March 3, the KPLT had abducted two persons, including the chief conservator of forests of Karbi Anglong Abhijit Rabha and range officer Ranjan Borua, from the foothills of Singhason when they were returning with 28 others from a six-day-long survey on biodiversity. Rabha and Borua were released on March 6.