Kolkata: Naib Subedar Amrendra Kumar, who slipped and fell into a stream in Arunachal Pradesh nearly 72 hours ago, is yet to be traced.
According to the Army’s Eastern Command, incessant rain and poor visibility in the rugged terrain is affecting search operations. Meanwhile, the JCO’s wife Rekha Kumari has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, not to call off the search operation. Naib Subedar Kumar is a resident of Bokaro in Jharkhand.
“He was posted to the Red Shield Division (57 Mountain Division) and was on an operational patrol in the Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh around 2 p.m. on Sunday when he slipped and fell into the fast-flowing mountain stream. A search was immediately launched along the stream but the soldier could not be traced. Search is continuing downstream with the help of villagers and the civil administration. We are still hopeful that he will be found alive,” an officer said.
According to relatives, senior officers from Naib Subedar Kumar’s unit are maintaining regular contact with the family. “We have an idea of the terrain and the risks involved there. However, he is a battle-hardened soldier with survival skills. We have not given up hope. We are receiving messages from well-wishers and those are providing a lot of support. We just pray to God that the weather improves there to allow search parties to trace him,” a cousin said.
There is significant Army presence in the district. Ziro, the district headquarter, also has an Advanced Landing Ground (ALG). According to another officer, air assets may be pressed into service as soon as visibility improves. On Wednesday, the weather remained cloudy with scattered rainfall in the region.
“We don’t leave our soldiers behind. We shall trace him. Our only concern is that he may be injured and in need of medical assistance,” he added.