Bodies of two persons – an Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer and a cloth merchant – abducted by suspected militants in September-end from Meghalaya’s Garo Hills were recovered from a village in South Garo Hills district on 24th October.
Police said they had recovered the body of IB officer Bikash Singh and cloth merchant Kamal Saha from a forest area in South Garo Hills district and blamed the A’chik Songna An’pachakgipa Kotok (ASAK) militants for the incident.
Meghalaya’s Director General of Police (DGP) Rajiv Mehta told newsmen that a police team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police Chauenlai Sangma recovered the bodies from a pit about 2 km from Bolchugre village, bordering Bangladesh, and about 450 km from Shillong.
‘We have exhumed the two bodies and taken to Baghmara (the district headquarters of South Garo Hills) for autopsy,’ Mehta said.
Suspected ASAK militants kidnapped the two on 24th September at gunpoint from an area between Ampangre and Panda reserved forest. Singh and Saha were travelling in a public vehicle towards Baghmara from Rongara when ASAK militants stopped the vehicle, separated them from other passengers and took them away.
The ASAK, whose name means ‘vanguard of Garoland’ and are fighting for a separate Garoland, had denied involvement in the kidnapping, but an obscure militant outfit – the Bangladesh Tiger Force –claimed to have killed the two men.
In an e-mail to the media, its ‘commander-in-chief’ Dallim Islam said that the officer and the cloth merchant were ‘executed in revenge for atrocities against Bangla nationals’ in the border region.
Meghalaya Police and intelligence agencies maintained that the ASAK militants were behind the abduction.
‘We have identified the ASAK militants who are the prime accused in kidnapping and killing the IB official and the cloth merchant. It is just a matter of time that they (ASAK militants) will be arrested,’ said a senior police official said.