Monday, June 17, 2024

Family attempts suicide under alleged pressure by militants


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Tezpur: A 55-year-old man died and two others are untraceable after four members of a family attempted to commit suicide by walking into Brahmaputra river at Ganesh Ghat here to escape alleged pressure by militants to recover loans taken by them.

Tezpur Sadar police station officer-in-charge H C Deka said on Wednesday the attempt was made by a middle-aged couple and their son and daughter-in-law Tuesday night and one of them was rescued.

Bhabani Sarma (55), his wife Makan Devi (50), their son Manjul Sarma (33) and his wife Astami Devi (28) had come from nearby Sipajhar and walked into the river, which is in high spate, at around 9.30 pm.

Ganeshghat, the site chosen by the family, is near Sonitpur district deputy commissioner’s office.

The police was alerted by the locals who spotted them.

Makan Devi was rescued and the body of Bhabani Sarma, an employee of Assam State Electricity Board, was found by the State Disaster Response Force, Deka said.

Manjul Sarma and Astami Devi have remained untraced so far and a search is on to find them, he said. Makan Devi, who is now in custody, later told media persons that the family had taken loan of Rs 60 lakh from different persons for a TV showroom at Mangaldoi.

The amount including interest had now become Rs 2.8 crore. She claimed that her son Manjul had sold their car and given Rs 15 lakh as repayment of the loan to pro-talk ULFA leader Ranju Saharia alias Pranjit Saikia at Bordoloni designated camp near Mangaldoi on Sunday.

Makan Devi also claimed that she and her husband had met the ULFA leader at the same camp and promised to repay the rest of the money after selling their houses and properties.

They had also negotiated with him to pay Rs four lakh every month, she claimed. Astami’s mother Rina Sarma said her daughter was eight months pregnant and had called her up Tuesday morning and allegedly told her that two persons had threatened over phone to shoot the family dead if Rs five lakh was not paid during the day.

She said Ranju Saharia and Hem Chandra Sharma were the two to have threatened her daughter’s family. Ranju Saharia has denied threatening the family.

Locals have alleged that pro-talk ULFA members residing in designated camps were acting on behalf of persons and agencies to recover loans from borrowers. (PTI)


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