Changlang

Tinsukia: The supervisor of a road construction company, who was abducted from Arunachal’s Changlang district last month, has been released by unidentified rebels near Gandhigram, close to border pillar 179 along the Indo-Myanmar border on Monday.

Rahul Sharma, 28, resident of Ratangarh in Rajasthan’s Churu district, was found about 70 miles from the Miao-Vijaynagar road on Monday night, the police claimed.

Confirming the development, the superintendent of Changlang police, Mihin Gambo told EastMojo, “We have handed over the victim to his relatives at Miao after completing all the formalities.”

Security forces are, however, yet to clear the mystery surrounding the kidnapping and release of the victim. Questions around which militant group abducted Sharma, where he was taken and kept for almost a month and how much ransom was paid to secure his release are yet to be answered.

Intelligence sources told EastMojo that Kaushal Sharma, the victim’s nephew, informed the police after receiving a phone call that tipped him about release of Rahul.

“Though it is not established which group had kidnapped Sharma, role of a former militant of ENNG, who deserted the outfit, cannot be ruled out. It is likely that the victim was taken to the other side of the porous international border in Burma and was released at Gandhigram only after the extortion amount was paid,” intelligence sources said.

Rahul Sharma was kidnapped two weeks after three road construction workers were kidnapped by suspected cadres of Yung Aung-led National Socialist Council of Nagalim from Arunachal Pradesh-Nagaland border in Longding district.

According to the FIR, a copy of which was accessed by EastMojo, the kidnapping took place on February 16 when the supervisor was travelling from 56 mile towards Mioa with a company staff.

“Two unknown masked men stopped the vehicle near 53 mile, on Miao-Vijaynagar road, and took Rahul Sharma along with them towards the jungle,” the FIR, filed almost a week later on February 23, read.

The complainant had further added that the delay in lodging FIR was due to threat to Sharma’s life.

On the condition of anonymity, a source in Arunachal police said it is not yet clear whether it is the handiwork of miscreants or any banned outfit is behind it. “The FIR doesn’t mention whether the men were armed, neither the family has received any extortion threat so far.”

Two employees of an oil drilling company, Ram Kumar (55) and Pranab Kumar Gogoi (51) were abducted by armed gunmen from Arunachal’s Changlang district in December 2020 and released almost 4 months later in April 2021.

Though ULFA (Independent) took responsibility for the kidnapping, the amount of ransom paid to secure the release of the abductee has remained a mystery to date.

Changlang district is a hotbed for militancy and outfits including ULFA (I), NSCN (K-YA), NSCN (IM), ENNG, among others, operate here. 

Attempts to speak to the nephew of the victim, Kaushal Sharma, turned futile.

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