Saturday, October 22, 2011

Reang militants kidnap train drivers on Assam-Mizo border
TNN | Oct 22, 2011, 12.56PM IST

SILCHAR: Suspected Bru ( Reang) militants kidnapped a driver Tarun Kumar Bhattacharjee (50) and his assistant S K Sharma (48) of Badarpur (Assam)-Bhairavi (Mizoram) passenger train, under Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), from Charaibak, in Assam's Haialakandi district on Thursday night.
An NFR official said assistant driver Sharma managed to flee from the militants' captivity in the wee hours of Friday, however, and was admitted to Bhairavi government hospital in Mizoram.
Upon hearing of the kidnapping, wife of the kidnapped driver Tarun, a Badarpur resident, fainted and was admitted to the local railway hospital, sources said.
According to a senior official, when the Bhairavi-bound passenger train from Badarpur reached Charaibak near Assam-Mizoram border at 9.30 pm on Thursday, a group of about six suspected militants, in camouflage, carrying sophisticated arms, stopped the train and jumped into the driver's cabin in the engine. The militants whisked away the driver and his assistant at gunpoint towards the jungles near Assam-Mizoram border, about 80 kms from Badarpur.
Soon after the incident, Sibul Das, the guard of the passenger train, traveling in the guard van at the tail end of the train, contacted the NFR authorities at Maligaon, after which a special security train carrying a contingent of police and CRPF, belonging to 147 battalion, led by superintendent of Hailakandi police Hemanta Kumar Bhattacharjee, rushed to the place and launched a hunt for the kidnapped drivers. Sources said Assam police have sought co-operation from their Mizoram counterparts in the operation against the kidnappers.
Bhattacharjee said four people have been arrested in connection with the abduction and hoped the driver would be rescued soon. The SP said Bru (Reang) militant outfit, United Democratic Liberation Army (UDLA), is behind the kidnapping.
All the police and security outposts along the Assam-Mizoram border have been alerted so that the miscreants can't sneak into Mizoram, Bhattacharjee said.
Assistant driver Sharma managed to flee from the captivity of the kidnappers early on Friday and reported to Bhairavi police station in Mizoram, following the long tracking through the jungles. Sharma, severely wounded, reportedly due to the harassment meted out at the hands of the kidnappers, received treatment at Bhairavi government hospital and was discharged, an official said. The Hailakandi SP has reached Bhairavi to seek Sharma's statement.
Meanwhile, train services in southern Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur have come to a standstill due to casework by railway men and their wives, in protest against the kidnapping, seeking rescue of the kidnapped driver and tightening of security. Leaders of NF Railway Mazdoor Union and NF Railway Employees Union said they will not join work until the kidnapped driver is rescued and security is tightened.
Authorities had to cancel the service of all the trains as drivers and other railway staff, agitating on the tracks of Badarpur, abstained from joining duty since Thursday night, causing much harassment to the passengers of the region. The Badarpur-Bhairavi train is also stranded at the place of the incident. Functioning of the railway offices in Badarpur was also hit by the agitation.


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