Silchar: Police are investigating the mysterious disappearance of a militant outfit’s former cadre Joiba Reang (35), who went missing after going to a jungle in a village under the Dholai assembly constituency in southern Assam’s Cachar district on March 24 to get vegetables.

Joiba’s father, Upendra Reang, from Hatikhal forest village (Dholai assembly constituency), lodged an FIR at the Palonghat police outpost (which comes under the purview of the Dholai police station) on Wednesday. As per the complainant, Joiba went to get vegetables around 4 pm on March 24 and has been missing since then. Joiba took his two pet dogs with him while going to the jungle, but the canines came back on March 25 without Joiba, the complainant told the police.

Hatikhal falls under Monierkhal GP, around 48km from Silchar town.

Joiba was a cadre of the Bru Revolutionary Army of Union (BRAU) whose members (including Joiba) had surrendered with their arms in Barak Valley before the Assam government about two years ago. A section of local people find Joiba’s disappearance mysterious and say the incident might have links with any active militant organisation.

Sources said police, based on the FIR, initiated a probe and carried out a search operation in Anandkhal on Wednesday evening. Village defence party (VDP) members were also present during the operation.

Upendra Reang told reporters on Wednesday they had reported the matter to the Palonghat police, and the police had launched an investigation to find out Joiba. Apart from that, nearly a hundred former BRAU cadres (who live in and around Hatikhal) have been searching for Joiba in the nearby hilly and jungle areas since he went missing, Upendra Reang said.

Monierkhal GP’s anchalik panchayat member Abhijit Majhi told the local residents of Hatikhal that a person of Anandkhal Jayanta Mura’s son-in-law Ram Mura told him that he had seen Joiba in a hilly area near Anandkhal following which police (after getting to know from locals that Ram Mura had seen Joiba) went to Ram’s house in Anandkhal around 6 pm on Wednesday evening and asked Ram who denied seeing Joiba. The matter (of Abhijit Majhi’s claim that Ram Mura saw Joiba in Anandkhal and then Ram’s denial of the same) was not clear and police are inquiring to find the truth, sources in the police said.

When local newsmen asked Ram Mura if he had seen Joiba, Ram told them that he neither told Abhijit about seeing Joiba nor he saw Joiba in Anandkhal as claimed by Majhi.

Dholai police station’s officer in charge Manoj Baruah told EastMojo on Thursday that an FIR had been lodged regarding Joiba’s missing incident and police are trying to find out Joiba. “We are searching for him. We are communicating in areas where he can be possibly found,” Baruah said.

Asked if anyone has been arrested or detained regarding the matter (considering the possibility that he was abducted), he said no one has been arrested or detained. “It is a missing case. Doesn’t seem like kidnapping,” he said.

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Almost 1,200 Bru-Reang militants had laid down their arms and returned to a normal life in the Hailakandi district on December 12. The militants of the United Democratic Liberation Front of Barak Valley (UDLF-BV) and Bru Revolutionary Army of Union (BRAU) surrendered with their arms during a programme held in Katlicherra in Hailakandi district in the presence of Minister Pijush Hazarika, Assam Legislative Assembly Speaker Biswajit Daimary, Additional Director General of Police (Special Branch) Hiren Nath and other senior police officials.

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