Kidnap Update: Kokrajhar district police, in the bordering Indian state of Assam, claim that two people, involved in the kidnapping of the 18-year-old boy from Sarpang town on January 4, were killed in an encounter with police on January 14.
The Kokrajhar superintendent of police, Sunil Kumar, said the two men killed, aged between 25 and 30, belong to a militant group called the
National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).
He said the two men were killed in a forest six kms from Ultapani village in Assam. Ultapani village is about 12km from Sarpang town.
SP Sunil Kumar said the army and police tracked the Indian mobile number, used by the kidnappers to demand and extort ransom from the relatives of the boy, and followed the two men, who were using the mobile sim card.
“There are three men, who were also detained in connection with the kidnappings in Bhutan, but we couldn’t hand them over to Bhutanese police directly, because of the international extradition treaty,” SP Sunil Kumar said.
The Bodoland Territory Council’s (BTC) deputy chief, Kampa Borgoyari, said army and police would raid all the neighbouring villages of Bhutanese border, as they learnt that the militants were hiding in the villages. “We couldn’t go with a full-fledged operation last time, because of the fear that they might kill the boy,” he said. The deputy chief also said they would now track down the other four militants involved in kidnapping the boy.
Kampa Borgoyari said the greatest challenge BTC faces, in light of cross border crimes, is tackling insurgency, as local people are scared to report about them to police.
Sarpang residents, who had been terrorised with three kidnapping cases in the past four months, are not sure whether the militants carried out the abductions.
A retired civil servant in Sarpangtar said that, going by the way kidnappers target and commit the crime, it appears more like a planned activity between local residents and miscreants from across border.
The director of the Bureau of Law and Order, Karma Tshering, said the home ministry is in touch with officials in New Delhi, and police are also investigating the case. “We’re also following up on how to extradite the detained people, to be tried in accordance with the due process of law,” he said.
Karma Tshering said it was important to ascertain what the local people believe and, as far as the ministry is concerned, they did not get any clue on the involvement of local people in the recent kidnap case.
Home minister Minjur Dorji said dialogue is ongoing at ministry, district and local levels with Indian counterparts. “Such problems arise because of the porous border, but the ministry is trying its best to solve it,” the minister said.
By Tashi Dema, Gelephu