GUWAHATI: In an incident not too different from the East Jaintia Hills rat-hole mine tragedy of December 13, 2018, four coal miners from Assam were found dead under “mysterious circumstances” inside an abandoned coal mine at Phichen village in Longleng district of Nagaland on Saturday evening.
Confirming the development to The Shillong Times on Sunday, Longleng deputy commissioner, John Tsulise Sangtam said the cause of the deaths could not be ascertained as the family members of the deceased had insisted to take away the bodies without conduct of post mortem.
“They workers had gone inside the illegal abandoned mine not to engage in any mining activity but to collect their belongings which they had left behind. We don’t know the cause of death as post mortem was not conducted after the families insisted to take away the bodies. However, there are speculations that they might have been killed either in a mudslide (as it has been raining incessantly for days) or by inhaling toxic gas,” Sangtam said.
Nagaland had last month banned coal mining in the state.
The village under Yonglok police station is just a few kilometres from the Nagaland-Assam border.
“The four persons have been identified as Jitan Tanvi (40), Krishna Gogoi (32), Sushan Phukon (37) and Tutu Teka (28),” the deputy commissioner said.
The deceased hail from the Sivasagar-Sonari area in Upper Assam.
“The bodies were delivered after obtaining certificates from the families,” he added.