Shillong, Feb 6 (IANS): The proprietor of a petrol depot is suspected to have been abducted at gunpoint by a rebel group near the India-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya, police said on Saturday.
No ransom call has so far been received by his family but police strongly suspect the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) to be behind Friday's abduction in South Garo Hills district's Gasuapara area.
"AP Singh, owner of a Reliance petrol pump, was abducted by a group of seven to eight armed men about 7 pm last night from the depot at Gasuapara area," Mukesh Kumar Singh, South Garo Hills district Superintendent of Police, told IANS. Gasuapara, an international trade centre between India and Bangladesh, is about 450 km from Shillong.
"The GNLA is our prime suspect behind the abduction. Nonetheless, we are investigating to ascertain the identities of the kidnappers," Singh said.
The rebel group is headed by Champion R Sangma, a Meghalaya Police officer-turned rogue. The GNLA, which operates in Meghalaya's Garo Hills region, had last year killed two migrant coal miners and attacked a petrol pump in the district. A coal exporter to Bangladesh was also abducted but was later released by the GNLA after he allegedly paid a huge ransom amount.
The tribal Garo rebel group had earlier slapped extortion demands ranging from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 1 crore on petrol pump owners, coal dealers and businessmen in the coal-rich districts of Garo Hills.