Govt treads cautiously on GNLA demand

No trace of abducted Chokpot BDO

SHILLONG: As the whereabouts of Chokpot BDO Jude Rangku T Sangma, kidnapped by Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) militants five days ago, still not known, the Government is adopting a cautious approach on the issue of the demand of GNLA to suspend the operations against the militant outfit as a pre-condition for the release of the official.
It was on October 27 that GNLA abducted the BDO and a day after,  the militant outfit, while claiming responsibility for the abduction, said that the reason was that the officer had blamed the outfit and the politicians for the delay in the implementation of projects and withdrawal of funds worth over Rs 40 crore.
Later, the GNLA set suspension of the anti-insurgency operations for the month of November as a condition for the release of the BDO.
A senior Home department official said on Saturday that the primary concern of the Government is to ensure the safety of the officer.
He also said that in this context, the Home department does not wish to make any statement which may worsen the situation.
The Chief Secretary Barkos Warjri also echoed the same recently as he did not want to make any comment on the demand of the GNLA, while indicating that  the Government was making efforts to ensure the safety of the BDO.
However, sources said that the Government is in a dilemma as it cannot immediately stop the operations against the militants and the same time does not want to see that any harm is done to the officer by the militant group.
Meanwhile, a senior police told a news agency that  inputs suggested that the official is safe and is being held captive in Meghalaya.
He said that police had no information if the rebels had contacted Sangma’s family members for ransom.
Various pressure groups and political parties including the United Democratic Party and the National People’s Party – have condemned the kidnapping and demanded immediate and unconditional release of the official.
Meanwhile, the officers and staff of West Garo Hills district administration has made an appeal on Friday for the safe release of kidnapped Chokpot BDO on the occasion of   Rashtriya Sankalp Diwas (National Re-Dedication Day) to commemorate the death of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
They also got together to pray for the safe and unconditional release of  the BDO and expressed their solidarity with the family of the officer

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