Tezpur, Oct. 9: Security forces are yet to trace NHPC general manager Anil Kumar Agarwal, 19 days after his abduction by the Songbijit faction of the NDFB.
Agarwal’s family members told this correspondent today that the abductors had called them up on Monday and said that NHPC officials would have to negotiate with them for his release. Talking over phone from New Delhi, Puneet Agarwal, a nephew of the official, said around 1.20pm today that the family was still awaiting his release. “We have been suffering a lot for the last 19 days. We are in touch with the NHPC management and they told us that negotiation was on with the abductors,” he said.
Agarwal, the general manager of the NHPC’s Tawang hydro-power project in Arunachal Pradesh, was kidnapped from the 12 Mile area of Charduar in Sonitpur district bordering Arunachal Pradesh on September 21. The site is about about 40km from Tezpur, the Sonitpur district headquarters, and 200km from Guwahati.
The superintendent of police, Sonitpur, Arabinda Kalita, said search operations for Agarwal were still on, but he refused to divulge details to ensure the abducted official’s safety.
Senior NHPC officials told this correspondent that they have been pursuing the issue of their colleague’s release with the governments of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh (where Agarwal was working.) “Our CMD had met the Assam chief minister. We have held talks with the chief secretary and police top brass. Our director (project) will also come. We are doing our bit,” one of them said.
Agarwal’s family members had met Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki last week seeking steps for his release.
Significantly, after Agarwal’s abduction, two other businessmen were kidnapped by the militant group from the same district. On Sunday, Rakesh Sarma, a trader, was abducted by a six-member militant group from the Sirajuli area, but was later rescued by the police. A four-member militant group had also abducted another businessman, Ram Gopal Agarwala, from Buroi tea estate under Gohpur subdivision while he was on his way home on October 4. Sources said the outfit had earlier demanded money before taking him hostage.