Kidnapped SBI official regains freedom

SBI official Subodh Kumar in Tura police station. (ST

TURA: After a fortnight under captivity, State Bank of India (SBI) employee Subodh Kumar was released on Thursday unharmed by Garo militant group along the Indo-Bangladesh border in South Garo Hills district.

Mishra, an assistant of the SBI’s Gasuapara branch, was abducted by A’chik Songna An’pachakgipa Kotok (ASAK) militants on August 5 from Barengapara road when he was returning from his place of work.

Police informed that Mishra was released by the militants on Dalu-Gasuapara Road.

“Mishra was released late last night near at Sibbari in South Garo Hills district and the police were currently doing their job. They (militants) were forced to release him due to ongoing search operations,” Inspector General of Police (Western Range) H Nongpluh told a news agency.

Later, he boarded a Tura-bound bus, which was intercepted by West Garo Hills Police at Barengapara Petrol pump near Dalu. From there police brought him to Tura.

According to a visibly shaken Mishra, he was made to walk for about 6 hours on the day of the kidnap and there were about 5-10 people that guarded him all the time.

He told reporters in Tura that he had not spoken to his family and was unaware of what had transpired for his release.

The release of Mishra has been welcomed by the SBI staff association, which had earlier observed a strike demanding security for banks in the militancy-hit Garo Hills region.

“We are really happy for his safe release and would like to thank all for their support and prayers. We can now start looking at normalising operations of the bank. A decision to that effect will be made by the Guwahati regional headquarters,” Nixon Joseph, Assistant General Manager, SBI, Garo Hills division, told reporters.

Earlier, SBI Staff Association deputy general secretary (Shillong Module) Biman B Bhattacharya had revealed that the family of the abducted SBI official paid Rs 5 lakh to the abductors.

“We don’t know yet the exact ransom that was paid to the militants by Mishra’s family but a substantial amount was paid to them,” an intelligence official told a news agency on the condition of anonymity. (With inputs from agencies)