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Assam: Gunmen abduct schoolboy

June 07, 2007 16:01 IST

Unidentified gunmen, suspected to be insurgents, abducted a Class VII student Rajat Agarwalla from Sonari in Sivasagar district of Assam while the boy was on his way to school along with his cousins at around 8 am on Thursday.

According to a police source, the abducted boy was travelling with five of his cousins, all students of St Joseph High School at Sonari, in an autorickshaw from Towkok Tea Estate to the school.

Two armed militants stopped the autorickshaw at gunpoint at a place called Panigarh and ordered it driven towards the Assam-Nagaland border that is just a few kilometers away.

About 2 km away from Assam-Nagaland boundary, the suspected armed insurgents let off five of school children along with the autorickshaw driver and took away Rajat along with the vehicle towards the Nagaland side of the boundary.

The police and the army have launched a combing operation on the Assam side of the border while 23 Assam Rifles based in Mon district of Nagaland have launched an operation to trace the boy on Nagaland side of the border.

The police are not sure about the identity of armed militants involved in the abduction. According to the version of the autorickshaw driver, from their physical appearance the miscreants may be from the tea tribe community.

A militant group from tea tribe community called Adivasi National Liberation Army has become active in the area of late. The area is also infested with banned United Liberation Front of Asom militants and Naga rebels.

The family of the abducted boy owns a grocery shop at Towkok tea estate. His father Dilip Agarwalla is away in New Delhi where he has accompanied his ailing wife for treatment.

K Anurag in Guwahati