The four persons who died at an abandoned coalmine in Yongkong village, located along Assam-Nagaland border, in Longleng district of Nagaland on Saturday were not coal miners as reported but daily wage labourers.
The deceased have been identified as Jiten Tanti (40), Krishna Gogoi (32), Tutu Deka (28) all from Sivasagar district of Assam and Shusan Phukon (37) of Charaideo district of Assam.
Longleng Superintendent of Police Swarnambika said.
Longleng Deputy Commissioner John Tsulise Sangtam on Monday clarified that the four labourers from Assam died after being trapped in mudslides in the abandoned coalmine when they went to the mine to collect their belongings after their day’s work on Saturday evening.
They were working near the abandoned coalmine at Yongkong village and kept their belongings inside the mine, he said.
Sangtam said a case has been registered in this connection and further investigation is on.
Sources said one of the five persons, who also went inside the mine to collect his belongings, suffered injuries in the mishap but miraculously escaped.
He informed the villagers of the incident who then informed it to the police.
The bodies were retrieved by the police on Sunday and handed over to their families.
Longleng district has been experiencing incessant rains for the past many days which may have caused mudslides inside the abandoned coalmine, sources said.
SP Swarnambika, who took over the charge only a week ago, said the coalmine was left abandoned after the Nagaland government banned illegal coal mining in the state in January.
The Nagaland Cabinet passed a resolution on January 7, 2019 banning illegal coal mining across the state and imposed a provisional mining ban on all firms or companies who have been issued mining licenses with immediate effect.