Abducted minor released, hill bandh dropped

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IMPHAL, Feb 28: In a major turnaround in the incident of the kidnapping of a 13 year old son of a hardware store owner which had even threatened to disrupt the communal harmony of the Sadar hill area, the boy was safely released by the abductors, early this morning somewhere under the Saikul Sub Division.

Sagar Prashad, son of a hardware merchant Suresh Prashad, a class 9 student of KT higher secondary school in Kangpokpi was kidnapped reportedly by a militant group on February 19 from Sapermaina in Senapati district for a ransom amount of Rs 50 lakhs.

According to the victim`s father Suresh Prasad, his son was released by the abductors at a hill range located on the eastern side of the Leikha Mandir along the NH 39 at around 4 am. From there he slowly proceeded towards Leikha Mandir, where he hitch a ride on a bus and reached home at around 9:30 am this morning.

While narrating about the ordeal suffered by the victim during his seven days of captivity, Suresh said that his son was provided only one meal and about two to three glass of water a day. He was held captive at an unknown place and was tied and gagged up during his seven days of captivity. He received constant threat however no other physical torture was meted out to him. Sagar has been reportedly hospitalized as his condition is stated to be weak.

Meanwhile, a press meet was held in this connection by the Joint Action Committee at Kangpokpi area. Talking to media persons the convener of the JAC, Ngamlen Haokip, expressed his happiness over the safe release of the abducted victim.

He lauded the efforts of various civil bodies who had taken active part in ensuring the release of the victim.

The proposed 24 hour bandh along the NH-39 earlier announced by the JAC in case of the failure from the part of the abductor to release the victim by February 28, has been called off with immediate effect, said the convener.

Speaking to mediapersons, he further maintained that the kidnapped boy, Sagar, who went missing for over a week after being kidnapped by the armed men, has been released at around 2 am by his abductors with his hands and feet tied. He was left by his abductors in a woodland road that led to Saikul under Saparmaina police station in Senapati district.

“Who was really behind the abduction can not be ascertained and whether the groups that made the ransom calls were genuine or otherwise can not be known too, but we are glad that Sagar has been released safe and sound”, the convener of the JAC said.

Meanwhile, it is not known on which condition the boy was released.

It can be recalled that on February 26 a silent protest march was staged jointly by Kuki Inpi, Sadar Hills, Kuki Students` Organization, Sadar Hills, Kangpokpi Town Committee, Kangpokpi Women Welfare Organization, Kangpokpi Youth Union and representatives of all the communities residing along National Highway 39 in Kangpokpi for the safe released of Sagar. A memorandum was relayed to the chief minister urging him to intervene for the safe release of Sagar.

Following the alleged kidnapping of Sagar by the proscribed KCP-MC, Kuki National Front-President (KNF-P) had picked up a dozen Meiteis residing in Sadar Hills area `threatening` them of dire consequences for extending support and refuge to KCP-MC. KNF-P had also allegedly served `quit notice` to the Meitei community of Sadar Hills which the KNF-P later vehemently denied.

Meiteis had fled their abode following the ultimatum and had taken refuge in a community hall in Sekmai. The 300 refugee had gone back to their respective homes with the assurance from KNF-P that no harm would be done to them.

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