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Thursday, Sep 29, 2022

‘Wandering’ in woods for days, 8 of 19 missing men found fortnight after they left BRO project

Ten workers are still “missing”, despite IAF-requisitioned aircraft making two search rounds on Friday — the labourers rescued have, meanwhile, said that three of their colleagues died over the last fortnight.

Without food or water for more than two weeks, the eight who have been found are in a “critical condition and very weak”, the SP said. (Express Photo)

Seventeen days after they fled a Border Roads Organisation (BRO) construction project in Arunachal Pradesh’s Kurung Kumey district, eight of 19 labourers were located between Friday and Saturday.

On Friday, four were found near the road construction project, after “wandering in the dense forests for days”, officials said.

Late Friday night, three more workers were rescued by SDRF and police. The eighth labourer was rescued on Saturday evening.

The Sarli-Huri road construction project, now nearing completion, is about 90 km from the India-China border.

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Ten workers are still “missing”, despite IAF-requisitioned aircraft making two search rounds on Friday — the labourers rescued have, meanwhile, said that three of their colleagues died over the last fortnight. “They said that two of them fell into the river, and one person died while resting on a stone,” Kurung Kumey Deputy Commissioner, Nighee Bengia, said.

“The road runs through mountains, and is close to thick forests — in one part, BRO workers were blasting it. Four labourers, guided by the sound, found their way,” Abhimanyu Poswal, SP, Kurung Kumey, said

As per their initial statements, the labourers lost their way after taking a “wrong turn”.

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Poswal said the police have been unable to record their statements in entirety.

The labourers, who were hired by a private contractor, independent of the BRO, had left the construction site on July 5. While it is not clear why they left, initial reports suggested that the men left after being denied leave. Some families claim they were being threatened to stay.

The families of the rescued have been informed, officials said.

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In Assam’s Kamrup district, Joynal Abedin, whose son Inamul Hasan is among those located, said he received a call early in the morning from a state legislator. “He shared some photos with me and asked whether my son was among them. I cannot explain how I felt when I saw his photo,” Abedin, an imam at a mosque in his village, said.

Only two of seven men who had gone to work at the site from Kokrajhar’s Malgaon have been found. “We have mixed feelings. Of course, the two families are relieved, but the rest are very upset,” said Jaharul Islam, a local village leader.

First published on: 24-07-2022 at 02:04:28 am
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