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IAF to launch search for 19 Assam workers missing along Arunachal border

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Seven of the 19 construction labourers, who went missing last week near the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh’s Kurung Kumey district, were traced and rescued on Saturday, 23 July.

IAF choppers were engaged in the rescue operations, in addition to the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF). The rescued workers were provided with medical assistance, as per news agency ANI.

Bengia Nighee, the deputy commissioner of Kurung Kumey, told news agency IANS that the SDRF personnel were continuing their search operation to locate the remaining workers. He added that the NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) would also join in the search operations soon.

Villagers had informed the police that the workers left their work site after the contractor refused to grant leave for Eid-ul-Adha, as per an Indian Express report. The workers had taken a shortcut jungle route to return to their homes in Kokrajhar and Dhubri of Assam.

Local villagers and police feared that all the workers might have drowned in the Kumey river.

Gaurav Gogoi, Congress’s deputy leader in Lok Sabha, had on Friday urged Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to press the army into action to find the missing workers.

In a letter to the defence minister, Gogoi had said: “There is no clarity on when; why and how they went missing. As per the Kurung Kumey district administration, it heard about their plight on 13 July. The district administration had conducted search operation but the team couldn’t find them since the area is inhospitable, full of deep gorges, steep hills and a river. Now, the families of those missing labourers are waiting for their safe returns to their homes.”

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