Army search Arunachal

Itanagar, June 13: Intensive search operations continued to locate two Indian Army personnel, deployed in forwarding areas of Anjaw district in Arunachal Pradesh, who went missing on May 28, the army said.

Naik Prakash Singh Rana (34) and Lance Naik Harender Singh (28) are presumed to have accidentally fallen into a fast-flowing river close to their post, the army said in a release.

“Despite immediate and extensive search and rescue operations, including aerial reconnaissance and tracker dogs being pressed into action, no success in the recovery of the personnel has been achieved,” it said.

The search operations are continuing for the last two weeks and a court of inquiry to investigate the incident has been convened by the army.

Family members of the two soldiers, both of whom belong to Uttarakhand, have been informed of the incident and are being regularly updated, the release added.

The wife of Prakash Singh Rana, a jawan of the 7th Garhwal Rifles, was increasingly tense about her husband’s wellbeing. With each passing day, she is losing patience as the whereabouts of her husband are still unknown. The couple had their last communication on the morning of May 28 over texts. A day before, they were smiling at each other over a video call.

“On May 28, he dropped me a text in the morning saying he was fine,” Mamta (30) told media. She said the next day she woke up to the disastrous news conveyed to her by army officials.

“Since then, I am being just told that the search operation is underway. Still, his trace is unknown,’’ she said.

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The couple’s two children — son Anuj (10) and daughter Anamika (7) — are equally worried about their father’s fate.

“When will papa come back? Why he isn’t picking up calls? They keep on asking me such questions. I have nothing to tell them,” Mamta said.

The jawan, who has been serving in the army for the last 13 years, last visited home on leave in December and left for duty on January 23. The family, originally from Rudraprayag, has been staying in Sahaspur of Dehradun since 2019.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator from Sahaspur, Sahdev Singh Pundir, said he has been in constant touch with the family.

“I visited the family on Friday. Whatever help can be done for the soldier and his family, is being done. I have sent all the details about the soldier to Delhi. They are taking every possible step to search the jawan,” he said.

Lance Naik Harender Singh Negi, who hails from Guptkashi in Rudraprayag district, has been serving the army for around 10 years. He married Poonam Negi three years ago and they have a one-year-old son.

On the morning of May 28, he spoke to his family over a WhatsApp call. Same day around 9 pm, the family was conveyed that he was reported missing. The last time Negi visited home was in December and rejoined the duty on January 8.

Another family member, who didn’t wish to be named, said though they have been receiving regular updates about the ongoing search operation from the army, they are anxious and restless about his disappearance.

“Though there is no news about him so far, we are hopeful that he is safe and unharmed. We really hope he does come back. If the army fails to search him in the coming days, then we will see what we can do,” said the family member.