Central government official, cloth merchant abducted in Meghalaya

Shillong, Sep 24 (IANS) A central government official and a cloth merchant were on Thursday abducted by tribal Garo militants in Meghalaya’s South Garo Hills district bordering Bangladesh, police said.

“Bikash Singh, a central government official posted at Rongara, and cloth merchant Kamal Saha were abducted at gunpoint by militants of the A’chik Songna An’pachakgipa Kotok (ASAK) outfit between Ampangre and Panda reserve forest,” Inspector General of Police (in-charge Western Range) F.D. Sangma told IANS.

The victims were travelling in a public vehicle towards Baghmara, the district headquarters of South Garo Hills, from Rongara, he said.

“The militants segregated the passengers of the vehicle before kidnapping the government official and the cloth merchant,” Sangma said.

“We are still investigating whether any ransom has been demanded.”

The ASAK, which means “vanguards of Garoland” and which operates in western Meghalaya, is fighting for a separate Garoland to be carved out of the state.

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