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Abducted girl returns home

Kokrajhar, Dec. 19: They kept her captive for nearly a month, moving her from one treetop to another and keeping her warm using gunny bags. Finally, they released the five-year-old early this morning.

Father Sanjiv Goel found five-year-old Mahi standing alone near a school in Paharpur under Tamulpur police station in Baksa district where her abductors had dropped her off.

She was still had on the school uniform she was wearing the day she was abducted.

Goel said he had received a call around 5am asking him to go to the particular area and take his daughter back. “I immediately rushed to the place and found her standing alone near a school.”

“We are all very happy and thank all those who had stood by us during these difficult days,” he said, choking with emotion.

He, however, denied having paid any ransom. “They must have finally taken pity on her and released her on humanitarian grounds,” he said.

Mahi, a kindergarten student of Don Bosco School, Darangamela, was abducted on November 23 by four persons on two motorcycles from the Darrangamela Sashipur area in Baksa district bordering Bhutan’s Sandrup Jongkhar when she was on her way to school.

The Goels are residents of Sandrup Jongkhar, where they run a business.

Mahi told reporters that the abductors put her up on treetops at night, giving her gunny bags for blankets, and moved her around regularly. They also fed her rice.

Baksa police had earlier arrested three persons, including Mithius Hembrum, the second-in-command of Birsa Commando Force, in connection with the kidnapping. Hembrum was arrested on December 9, while the two others — Mahesh Kisan and Mangal Kisan — were arrested earlier on November 28.

Hembrum had confessed to committing the crime and demanding money in exchange of the child. He said his group had been paid a ransom of Rs 5 lakh.

Baksa district superintendent of police Birbikram Gogoi said, “She is doing well and is now with her family.”

“We have identified a few more persons under whose custody the child was kept all these days. We hope to arrest them soon,” he said. “The kidnapping involved a big gang.”