Strike hits banking operations in State

Our Bureau

SBI employees take out a silent protest rally demanding release of their colleague Subodh Kumar Mishra, who was abducted in Garo Hills recently, in city on Monday. (ST)

Abduction of SBI staff: Vulnerable branches in GH likely to be closed down

SHILLONG/TURA: All State Bank of India (SBI) branches across the State remained closed on Monday in protest against the ‘State Government’s failure’ to ensure security of its employees and the public from kidnappers and extortionists.

A silent protest march was taken out on Monday by officials of the SBI from its Zonal office at Dhankethi and culminated at SBI Main branch at Police Bazaar.

The strike was demanding release of the SBI official, Subodh Kumar Mishra, who was abducted on Tuesday at gun point by suspected militants in Barengapara, near Dalu in West Garo Hills.

The official was serving in the remote part of Garo Hills in SBI’s Gasuapara branch in South Garo Hills.

Meanwhile, the SBI Employees Association has also given a proposal to the management to close down all vulnerable branches in Garo Hills and a decision is expected in this regard, soon.

“We would be forced to close down all the branches in Garo Hills if the State Government does not take steps to ensure employees’ safety and security,” the SBI employees said.

There are around 300 SBI employees in the 42 branches in the Garo Hills region.

The SBI Staff Association deputy general secretary Biman B Bhattacharya said that the SBI branches in the five districts of Garo Hills would continue to remain closed till Mishra is released.

Meanwhile, a report from Tura said half a dozen private and nationalised banks in Garo Hills have decided to join the SBI in its indefinite strike demanding release of Mishra.

Meghalaya Co-operative Apex Bank (MCAB), Meghalaya Rural Bank (MRB), Axis Bank, Urban Co-operative Bank, Union Bank are some of the financial institutions those decided to join the strike to demand the safe and unconditional release of the abducted SBI official.

Employees of all the banks located in Garo Hills will be joining a protest rally at Tura on Tuesday afternoon at 1 PM to once again demand the release of Mishra.

On Monday afternoon SBI officer and employees association members held a meeting on the premises of the regional office at Chandmari, Tura.

The general secretary of SBI staff association for North East Circle, Pradip Kumar Basaiya, who arrived in Tura from Guwahati to extend support for the strike, informed his colleagues that the proposal to close down the vulnerable SBI branches in the rural areas of Garo Hills which are sensitive to militant interference has been submitted.

Meanwhile, bank employees in Rajabala town took out a protest procession against the abduction of Mishra by suspected ASAK militants.

The whereabouts of the banker remain uncertain even as the ASAK outfit has been keeping mum on the abduction.