Kidnapped SBI cashier in Meghalaya still untracedJuly 2nd, 2012 - 6:57 pm ICT by IANS
Shillong, Jul 2 (IANS) The whereabouts of the State Bank of India (SBI) cashier kidnapped by Liberation Achik Elite Force (LAEF) rebels 10 days ago remain unknown, even as 41 SBI branches remained shutdown demanding his immediate release, an official said Monday.
On Jun 23, five heavily armed LAEF rebels abducted SBI Songsak branch cashier Abdul Halim from Songsak-Mendipathar road, about 300 km from Shillong, the state capital of Meghalaya.
However, the rebels released Dilip Barman, the SBI branch manager whom too they had kidnapped, with a rider that he would cough up Rs.5 lakh for his safe release.
“We don’t know the whereabouts of the cashier, but rescue operations are on to secure his safe release,” Tennyson Dkhar, the intelligence chief of Meghalaya Police, told IANS.
Intelligence officials said Halim is still being held in captivity by the LAEF rebels in the Garo Hills region.
“Halim is very much in Garo Hills and the rebels are negotiating on the ransom with his family members for his safe release,” the intelligence official said on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, 41 SBI branches in the three districts of Garo Hills remained shut down Monday to press for Halim’s immediate safe release.
“We appealed to the LAEF rebels to immediately release Halim unharmed. They have demanded a ransom amount of Rs.10 lakh but his family won’t be able to pay it as he is the only bread winner in the family,” K.C. Das, an SBI official, told IANS by phone from Garo Hills.
The LAEF is one of the five Garo rebel groups operating in the western part of Meghalaya fighting for an independent, separate Achik state.
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