HAILAKANDI, April 27 � The 12-hour Hailakandi district bandh from 5 am yesterday called by the South Hailakandi Yuva Aikyamancha hit normal life.
Some offices were partially open but the attendance was almost nil. Educational institutions and banks remained closed while passenger vehicles were off the roads during bandh hours. No untoward incident has so far been reported from any part of the district during the bandh hours.
South Hailakandi Yuva Aikyamancha has called the bandh in protest against the failure of police to rescue the kidnapped trader Jakir Hussain Laskar. President of the organization Saleh Ahmed told the media that they had given a 48-hour ultimatum to the police in Hailakandi to rescue Jakir and it ended on the Sunday evening. He said that after observing bandh on Tuesday, they would start a greater democratic movement throughout the district for unconditional release of Jakir. The AGP and AIUDF extended support to the bandh.
More than 500 people belonging to various organizations on Sunday evening gheraoed the Jamira police outpost after the end of the 48-hour ultimatum. The in-charge of Jamira police outpost, Dulendra Chetia, assured the agitated people that the search operation is on to rescue Jakir and nab the kidnappers and he sought more time from the people but the people were in no mood to accept that and decided to call a bandh on Tuesday.
On the other hand, State Minority Development Council has expressed serious concern over kidnapping of innocent persons and traders in south Hailakandi area on the Assam-Mizoram border. The Council in a memorandum to the district administration of Hailakandi demanded immediate intervention of high police officials for rescue of Jakir.
It may be mentioned here that Jakir Hussain Laskar, a 30-year-old small trader of south Hailakandi, was kidnapped on gun-point by the 11 armed Reang militants on April 20 last from Gallacherra area. Police later recovered a surrendered identity card of a member of United Liberation Front of Barak Valley (ULFBV) from the spot and on the basis of that, police arrested seven persons including three surrendered members of ULFBV involved in the kidnapping of Jakir.
Meanwhile, Excise and Border Areas Development Minister Gautam Roy informed media that the situation of south Hailakandi will be normal after May 13 as all the paramilitary personnel posted in the area have been shifted to West Bengal for election duty. He further informed that he has already instructed the Hailakandi Superintendent of Police to take all necessary steps for the release of Jakir Hussain.
SP Hemanta Bhattacharya, who visited the area on Saturday to intensify the search operation, told the media that a militant group of Tripura has entered the jungles of Assam-Mizoram border and they are hiding in the dense forest of Mizoram. He said that the operation is still on to nab these militants and hoped that they will be in police net soon.
On the other hand, police has arrested five suspected Reang militants from the Jhalnacherra area of south Hailakandi Monday night. They have been identified as Lalita Reang, 35, Baichandra Reang, 22, Badra Singh Reang, 21, Chadaroni Reang, 20 and Karendra Reang, 34. Police said that first four militants are the surrendered members of ULFBV. They have been kept in Jamira police outpost and their interrogation is on, police said.
In another development, the Dhanyaram Reang-led outfit of south Hailakandi, United Democratic Liberation Army (UDLA) has owned the responsibility of kidnapping Jakir. In a press briefing, it has been revealed by the members of South Hailakandi Yuva Aikyamancha and they demanded immediate arrest of all the members of UDLA in order to bring peace in the area.