TURA, July 8 - Former chief of Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC), Cary Marak has opened up about the life scare he received when he was kidnapped by a group of Assam-based militants while on his way to Tura from Shillong on June 27.
Marak, narrating the incident, said the horrendous experience would last him a lifetime. �I received a call from my daughter on June 26 informing me about my wife having fallen seriously sick. I asked them to immediately shift her to hospital and proceeded from Shillong the next morning to bring my wife back to the capital for treatment at NEIGHRIMS,� said an emotionally upset Marak.
The hired vehicle, on which Marak was travelling on June 27, was stopped near the forest reserve on the Tura road just after crossing Paikan by two Sumo vehicles occupied by what seemed like Army men who signaled them to pull over.
�The driver stopped the car as he thought it was the Army. We were ushered into their vehicles and after crossing the Sualmari Army camp we were blindfolded by the group and taken into the jungle. It was then they asked us to contact our families for the ransom demand,� added Marak.
Marak stated that he pleaded with the group to allow him to go as his wife was ill but they stuck to the ransom demand.
The kidnapping is suspected to be the handiwork of the NDFB. There were at least five armed militants guarding the former MDC all the time.
�Two would stay in the room with me and another three would be outside. After negotiations were completed they brought me blindfolded towards the main road and let me go on June 29. I had no mobile to contact my family as the group had confiscated all my personal belongings. I recalled a family member�s phone number from memory and used a borrowed phone to inform my family about my release,� said the former GHADC Chairman.
The militants released Marak somewhere close to Salmara after which he returned home to his family in Tura.
�I feel lucky to be alive and back with my family. This is the worst experience that one can ever have and I was fearful that I would not come back alive. Thankfully, I did,� said Marak.
The family, however, did not wish to disclose information on the negotiations carried out for Marak�s release, wishing their privacy to be respected. Sources claimed Rs 4 lakh was paid to the militants by the family to secure his release.