GUWAHATI, Sept 6 - At least two persons who were on board the ill-fated mechanized boat that capsized in the Brahmaputra river here on Wednesday are still traceless, even as the official death toll stood at two.
While civil administration and police officials claimed that the boat was occupied by 26 people in total, eyewitnesses, including the survivors, contradicted the statement, asserting that the number was much more than what is being quoted by the authorities.
North Guwahati Police has detained the boatman and his assistant after an FIR was lodged against the Inland Water Transport authorities. Police said the duo was handed over to the River Police for further investigation. A case has also been registered in this connection.
Despite continued search operation initiated by the Army, NDRF, SDRF and the River Police, not a single person could be found till the time of filing this report. A team of Indian Navy has also reached the spot and it will resort to underwater scanning tomorrow morning.
However, there continues to be ambiguity with regard to the exact number of persons who were actually travelling on the boat from Guwahati to North Guwahati.
Kamrup Deputy Commissioner Kamal Baishya told The Assam Tribune that as of now two persons � Rahul Ali and Kamal Rajak � are missing and most of the other passengers were either rescued or swam to safety. �The search operation will continue tomorrow with the divers of the Indian Navy who recently took part in the search operation in Dikhow river,� he said.
Baishya also said that although people from other parts of the State have made calls at the helpline numbers reporting about their missing family members, the same could not be related to the boat mishap incident and there was no specific information about them occupying the ill-fated boat.
Meanwhile, people from various walks of life, including commuters and students, staged protests in the Fancy Bazar ghat area and near the office of the Kamrup (Metro) district administration pressing for immediate measures to streamline the boat service between Guwahati and North Guwahati.