TINSUKIA: The 16 youths who were kept hostage in remote terrain in Arunachal Pradesh by a road contractor from Arunachal Pradesh for more than three months, were rescued by Tinsukia police on Monday.
Meanwhile, the police have launched a massive hunt for the three middlemen who are still at large. All the 16 persons are from Chamguri and Gakhirbheti under Talap Outpost in the Tinsukia district.
According to reports, Putul Moran and Nitu Sarma of Sadiya and Paiku Sonowal of Talap had taken 17 youths to work in a road-construction project at Chumching Village under Pasighat Police Station of Upper Siang district on January 4. Since then they had no contact with their family members till one of the labourers escaped from captivity and reported their ordeals at Talap. Though the Talap anchalik committee of AASA (All Adivasi Students' Association) along with other organizations, including the AASU (All Assam Students' Union) attempted to rescue the boys from Chumching, they faced stiff resistance from the local contractor who contended that the wages had been already paid to the three agents, adding that the labourers would not be released till the completion of road construction. Finding no alternative, they approached the Tinsukia Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police with a memorandum seeking the release of the boys and arrest of the middlemen.
The Tinsukia Superintendent of Police, Vaibhav Nimbalkar immediately contacted his Pasighat counterpart and arranged for the safe return of the captive boys, who were handed over to a police team led by Kopil Chandra Das, Sub Inspector of Talap Out Post.
Later, the Talap police team handed them over to their families. The contractor reportedly fled the scene on arrival of the police team.
"The president and secretary of the Talap unit of AASA, Cyprian Khalkho and Amar Teli, have thanked the district and police administration of Tinsukia, informed sources.