GUWAHATI, March 26 � Sudden increase in the number of kidnappings in Assam has become a matter of serious concern and the most disturbing fact is that the militant groups have started using anti-social elements to pick up their �targets�. The rate of kidnappings so far this year has increased sharply as compared to the previous years and the number of killing of kidnapped persons has also increased.
According to official records alone, as many as 31 persons were kidnapped from different parts of Assam so far this year and four of them have been killed. Talking to The Assam Tribune , highly placed official sources admitted that the exact number of kidnappings might be much more than the official record as there have been instances of families and friends of the kidnapped persons directly negotiating with the abductors instead of reporting the same to the police. The sudden rise of kidnappings also proved that extortions by the militants also increased, sources added.
According to records available, 70 persons were kidnapped last year and three of them were killed, while, the security agencies have definite information that at least 45 of them paid ransom to the militants to come out safely. As per records, 75 persons were kidnapped in 2010. However, as 31 persons have been kidnapped within the first three months of this year, if the trend cannot be checked, the total number of kidnapped persons this year may go up substantially.
Sources said that the hardline faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), Ranjan Daimary faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB), KPLT, Adivashi groups and even members of the militant groups under cease-fire agreement were involved in most of the kidnappings so far this year. However, there has been no report of any member of the pro-talk faction of the ULFA indulging in kidnapping, sources admitted.
In a number of incidents the militant groups used other anti-social elements to pick up their targets and shared a part of the booty. While doing so, the militant groups achieved their target of kidnapping for ransom without risking their own manpower. It is not possible for the anti-social elements who kidnapped people to keep the abducted persons safely without the help of any major group, sources pointed out.
Sources admitted that one of the ways to check the menace is to ensure that the persons involved in kidnappings are put behind the bars. Very often, the miscreants involved in kidnappings managed to obtain bail from the courts because of the failure of the police to complete the investigation and file charge sheet on time and in a few cases, such miscreants indulged in kidnapping immediately after getting bailed out, sources added.
Sources further pointed out that it is difficult for the police and security forces to launch operations for rescuing the kidnapped persons as such operations might put their lives at risk.