GUWAHATI: Seventeen days after they fled their camp and were reported missing, eight of the 19 Assam construction workers were rescued from a jungle in Kurung Kumey district of Arunachal Pradesh bordering China on Friday night.
All of them are stated to be in critical condition, and their health is being monitored by a medical team, officials said. Seven workers were rescued on Friday night, identified as Abdul Amin, Majidul Ali, Monowar Hussain, Joinair Ali, Inamul Hussain, Khairul Islam and Hamidul Hussain.
One Ibrahim Ali, the eighth person, was rescued on Saturday evening. He was serious and could not speak. He is being taken by road to the district hospital at Koloriang along with two other labourers. The remaining five rescued persons were evacuated to Naharlagun near the state capital Itanagar by an IAF chopper for further treatment.
Kurung Kumey District Magistrate Nighee Bengia said, “Their statements would be recorded once they recover.” He added after fleeing their camp at Huri in the dead of the night on July 5, the workers had entered a dense forest infested with snakes and wild animals. Later, they split into two groups of eight and 11 members.
As per the statements of the rescued labourers, three of the 11 are dead – 2 drowned in a river “after falling” while one died on the way. The rescue team did not recover or see the dead bodies.
“The persons rescued were found tired and frail. We gave them food, water and medicines,” Bengia said, adding that the other group had headed in a different direction in the forest. Aided by police personnel and local residents, a 25-member team of the State Disaster Response Force is conducting a search operation for them.
The workers, mostly Muslims, were engaged in the construction of a road from Damin circle in Kurung Kumey to the China border. The project is being executed by the Border Roads Organisation. They had fled their camp, ostensibly after being denied leave to go home for Eid.