TURA, Oct 29 - Despite almost the entire Garo Hills condemning the kidnap of the block development officer (BDO) of Chokpot, Jude Rangku T Sangma, with all seeking the unconditional release of the official, the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) threatened to execute Sangma if the Government did not pull back ongoing operations against all outfits in the region.
The threat comes after additional forces have been deployed in an attempt to rescue the officer by the police.
The BDO was kidnapped from Deku Deganggre area at gunpoint while he and two others were on their way to Tura in a Government vehicle on Tuesday between 6.30 pm and 7 pm. Chokpot is about 60 km from Tura in West Garo Hills and about the same distance from Baghmara, the district headquarters of South Garo Hills.
In a release issued on Thursday by the outfit�s joint publicity secretary, Garo Mandei Marak, said, �If the Government doesn�t stop and withdraw operations against us and others in the Garo Hills region immediately within this week, then we will be compelled to shoot the Meghalaya State Government official who is still in our custody.�
In the wake of the BDO�s kidnap, the police have launched a massive operation in Chokpot area of South Garo Hills, which is a hotbed of insurgency.
�We won�t hesitate to shoot him (Jude Rangku Sangma) and dispose his body anywhere from where it might never reach to his family and loved ones,� the release stated.
�The GNLA is asking the family members of the BDO and the Government to withdraw the operations against us immediately from the entire region of Garo Hills for the month of November,� the outfit said.
The outfit gave a deadline to the Government until the end of this week to withdraw operations against them releasing photos of the BDO showing that the victim was in their custody.
It also said that if by any chance any police operation team arrived at the spot where the official was being held, the GNLA would immediately kill him. �In order to avoid such happenings and accident, we demand the withdrawal of operations from the entire region... Or else we will be left with no option and negotiation,� the release further said.
Jude is the third BDO in Garo Hills, who has been held captive by the rebel outfits since the start of militancy. Earlier, the GNLA had kidnapped the then BDO of Dadenggre, PK Boro, while the BDO of Selsella was kidnapped by ANVC militants.
Intensified operations are still on in the area to rescue the official. �We are yet to locate his whereabouts,� said the police sources. The police claimed that the outfit�s western range commander, Hedio C Momin, who hails from Chokpot area, kidnapped the official.
The BDO is a 2010 Meghalaya Civil Service batch cadre and had been posted in Chokpot for the past two years.