The abduction of a 50-year-old engineer in Kokrajhar district, western Assam, by suspected militants belonging to the anti-peace talks faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland has left the East-West Corridor project of the National Highway Authority of India in lurch.
The engineer, P Krishna Rao, worked for Andhra Pradesh-based Gayatree ECI Company, which was allotted work on a 63 km stretch of the East-West Corridor project in Kokrajhar district.
At least 40 employees of the company have now gone on leave citing various compulsions following the abduction.
A source in the company said panic has gripped the employees so much so that the working hours on the project site has been limited from 9 am to 5 pm. Earlier, the working hours were from 7 am to 11 pm.
The police said there was no clue regarding the whereabouts of the abducted engineer though an intensive search operation was being conducted jointly with the Indian Army and paramilitary forces.
Two motorbike-borne militants had abducted the engineer at gunpoint while he was supervising work at a project site at Karigaon on October 16 and has been untraceable since then.
The police said it had no information about any money demands made by the abductors. The militants had fled with the engineer towards the thick forests along the India-Bhutan borer to the north of NH 31 (C).
The NDFB Ultras have made sanctuaries inside the thickly forests along about 700-km long porous Indo-Bhutan border under Bodoland Territorial Council districts that is weakly manned, though there has been skeletal presence of Sashatra Seema Bol.
Meanwhile, suspected militants belonging to the anti-talks faction of the NDFB fired upon the publicity secretary and senior leader of the pro-talks faction of the NDFB S Sanjarang at Udalguri town in north Assam on Wednesday morning.
Police sources said the NDFB leader was seriously injured.
The incident brought to the fore the feud between the two factions of the NDFB that poses a grave threat to the peace in Bodo heartland in Assam.The pro-talks faction of the NDFB has issued a statement accusing the third battalion of the anti-peace talks of NDFB for the attack.