Kidnapped Meghalaya official freed, family says no ransom paidBy IANS
Thursday, November 25, 2010
SHILLONG - Family members of a Meghalaya government official, who was kidnapped by militants nearly two months ago, Thursday denied paying any ransom for his release.
R. Syngkon, district transport officer of East Garo Hills district, and his driver Wanbormi Syngkon were kidnapped by Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) rebels Sep 30 from his residence at Williamnagar, the district headquarter.
The militants had made an extortion demand of Rs.60 lakh, which the transport official refused to pay, additional director general of police Rajiv Mehta said.
The two kidnapped men were freed Wednesday night at Samanda, some 25 km from Williamnagar, he added.
An intelligence official said the duo were released after the official’s family paid ransom.
“We have learnt that Syngkon’s family paid Rs.50 lakh after much negotiations with the rebels,” he told IANS.
However, the family members denied paying any money to the rebels.
“No ransom money was paid to them. They set him free unconditionally,” a family member said.
“Syngkon denied paying any ransom amount for his release. The official is weak and we don’t want to interrogate him now,” district police chief Sylvester Nongtyngner said.
GNLA’s military wing chief Sohan D. Shira claimed that the official was kidnapped for indulging in “corrupt practices”.
“Syngkon has learnt his lesson and vowed that he will not repeat his deeds,” Shira was quoted as saying by a local English daily.
“Each corrupt officer will meet with the same fate or worse than Syngkon,” he said.
GNLA, one of the five Garo rebel groups, is demanding a sovereign Garoland in western Meghalaya.
The group is also believed to have links with rebel groups like the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).