Update: As would naturally, fear has descended on the people of Gelephu following the recent incident where two men were kidnapped from Bhur. Worried residents and their relatives have been cautioning travellers and advising them to be careful.
But calm is returning albeit slowly.
Many are of the belief that people from across the border create problems to those who have issues to settle. The people of Gelephu have long had close relation with their neighbours in the south. Porous border helped prosper engagements like trade and culture.
Occasional disturbances occur but Sarpang is now safe and peaceful, said a resident of Gelephu. “One needn’t worry if one hasn’t any unresolved issues with the people across the border.”
But economic engagement between the two peoples will continue as it has always.
Sources say that pattern of kidnapping cases in the recent years is pointing to some clear situations. Family of the kidnaped have made people from across the border work for them and not paid. When disagreements occur among them, worrying developments like kidnapping occurs.
The family of the student who was kidnapped from fishery in December 2014 was share cropping with a family in Dadghari. After harvest, there were some disagreements. The landowner began guarding the fields during harvest. Upon a night when the son was guarding field, people from across the border came and kidnapped him.
In another kidnapping case that happened in January 2013, a boy was abducted from a hotel in Sarpang. It turned out that the boy’s father had similar disagreements with people across the border. Similarly, Keshar Man Rai, father of the boy who was recently released, had some problems with Indian labourers he had employed for the construction of piggery. Following disagreements, the labourers had left without completing the project.
“People from across the border kidnap our people for revenge,” said a resident of Sarpang. “Otherwise, everything is normal and peaceful here.”
“I’ve a farm here and have to deal with people from across the border. As far as I’m concerned, my dealings have been clean with them,” said Keshar Man Rai.
Residents of Gelephu say that kidnappings happen with clear motive. “They do not pick up people randomly. If we look, there is always a clear sign of some enjoyments,” said a resident.
A gup said that misunderstandings and disagreements need to be cleared so that abduction cases do not occur in the future. “ Otherwise, Sarpang is a happy place as any in this country.”
Dzongdag Dawala said investigation is underway to establish whether abductions were motive-based.