SHILLONG, July 5 � Meghalaya has witnessed a dangerous trend with at least one person being abducted every alternate day during this year till June.
In all 98 people were abducted in the past six months alone this year till June and from June 2013, there were 175 people who were abducted. The number of abduction cases reported during this period was 135, which means that in many of these cases more than one person was abducted in a single abduction case.
According to data from January this year, 98 people have been kidnapped with May recording the highest number of 26 people being kidnapped in as many as 15 abduction cases. Most of these kidnappings have occurred in Garo Hills region with militant groups mushrooming with the passing time.
The people who have been abducted included citizens from all strata of life from government employees, people having political connection, businessmen, both big time and small traders, teachers, women and children. So acute have been the deteriorating law and order situation that even politicians do not venture out late in the evenings.
�The figures show that the law and order situation has totally collapsed. Such a large number of abduction cases has not been reported from anywhere else in the country. In fact, such a high rate of abduction is more than the abduction rate in some of the dangerous South American cities where powerful drug cartels are operating,� an Intelligence official said.
In Garo Hills, kidnappings are directly connected to extortion, officials say. Many of the people who did not give into the militants� extortion diktat were kidnapped and ransom realised. Although many of the abduction cases are registered with the police, the manner in which the people were rescued remains hazy with money being the underlining factor for the releases in many of the cases.
DGP Peter Hanaman said that after the National Green Tribunal banned coal mining, the criminals are �looking for easy money and soft targets. The ransom demands range from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 50 lakh,� he added.
Chief Secretary PBO Warjri said that the �grave� situation in Garo Hills is also because of the region�s neglect for the past 20 years or more wherein the people�s social, economic and political aspirations were not met. This has led to the present state of frustration amongst the people there but that is one of the reasons. The other being the corrupt system wherein everyone is in a hurry to make money faster than the other, through illegal toll collection and mining activities.