A Manipuri policeman posted in the heart of Assams ethnic violence-hit Gosaingaon has been missing for a month and authorities fear the worst as he may have been mistaken for a Bodo tribal and become a victim of the rioting.
Angom Joysingha,50,a havaldar with the 20th India Reserve Battalion,was on his way from Gosaingaon to the Sapkata police camp,where he was posted,on July 22 when he disappeared. The police suspect that he may have been kidnapped from the Muslim-dominated area of Anthony Crossing,which is on the way to the camp.
A search mounted by the police and the Army,and joined by Joysinghas son Molindra and brother A Jaividyasingha,have failed to trace the policeman from Kamranga village near Silchar in Assam,which has a large Manipuri population.
Although police sources said they suspect Joysingha may have been kidnapped and killed at the height of the clashes between the Bodos and migrant Muslims,Anjan Pundit,a sub-divisional police officer in Gosaingaon.
Joysingha had gone home on leave for a month in June and joined duty on July 21,the day rioting broke out in Kokrajhar and spread to Gosaingaon,Baksa,Chitang,Dhubri,Udalguri and other parts of the Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts,said Gosaingaon town sub-inspector Tapas Das.
After returning to Gosaingaon on 21st night,he stayed with the escort party. He left Gosaingaon around 6:30 am on July 22 saying he was going to Sapkata camp located about 10 km from Gosaingaon, said Pundit. He was in plainclothes and had no arms with him. Since the situation was extremely volatile,some of his colleagues advised him not to go alone. But he did not listen.
Joysingha is reported to have told his colleagues that he did not fear for his safety as he knew the area well and would hitch a ride to his destination. At 6:53 am,when a colleague called,Joysingha told him that he was walking on the highway. That was the last call made to his mobile phone and it has since been switched off,said Das.
A police officer said there was tension in a village between Gosaingaon and Sapkata that morning and Joysingha may have been kidnapped while passing through. His son has been searching for him since August 4. My father is the only earning member of my family. Me and my sister are students. What will I tell my mother if father is not traced? The police didnt raid the villages where my father is thought to have been taken after being kidnapped, said Molindra.