Shillong, Oct. 20: Three road engineers of a Hyderabad-based construction firm were abducted this morning from East Garo Hills district by suspected GNLA cadres.
Manoj Kumar, Deepak Kumar and A.K. Sharma, all engineers of the BSC-C & C (JV) road construction company, were abducted by an unspecified number of armed GNLA men around 11am.
The firm has been engaged in construction of a two-lane 94km road linking Shillong with Tura in West Garo Hills via Nongstoin in West Khasi Hills at an estimated cost of around Rs 1,494 crore.
“The GNLA rebels intercepted their (engineers’) vehicle at Dambu Aga reserve forest and kidnapped the three engineers at gunpoint while they were proceeding towards Assam,” a senior Meghalaya police officer said. Police suspect that the engineers were kidnapped for ransom.
The incident was reported to the Rongmil police camp by two other occupants of the vehicle, including the driver, who were left unharmed.
The engineers were based at Suanggre camp in East Garo Hills. The area from where the trio were abducted lies between Rongjeng and Goalpara (Assam) and is around 250km from here.
It is not known whether the outfit had earlier served any demand note to the engineers or the construction firm. “We have intensified our search operation to rescue the engineers from the armed rebels,” the police officer said.
Yesterday afternoon, armed GNLA cadres abducted ginger traders Inadul Islam and Mosa Bapari, at gunpoint from Damal Asim market, under Dadenggre police station in West Garo Hills.
The GNLA claims to be fighting for a separate “Garoland”. Its “chairman” Champion R. Sangma, a former Meghalaya deputy superintendent of police, is at present in jail following his arrest from the India-Bangladesh border on July 30 this year.
The outfit is active in the five districts located in the Garo hills region and also along the coal mining belt in West Khasi Hills that shares a boundary with East Garo Hills.
Since its formation in 2009, the outfit has killed several people in Garo hills. Most of the victims were police personnel.