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NIA probe into Meghalaya IB officer’s killing demanded


Shillong: The Civil Society Women’s Organisation (CSWO), a women’s group in Meghalaya, on Sunday demanded a probe by the National Investigation Agency following the recovery of the body of an Intelligence Bureau officer and a cloth merchant, kidnapped by Garo militants.

On Saturday, Meghalaya Police recovered the bodies of Intelligence Bureau officer Bikash Kumar Singh and cloth merchant Kamal Saha from a forest area in South Garo Hills district. They were kidnapped and killed by A’chik Songna An’pachakgipa Kotok (ASAK) militants.

“We demand an NIA probe into the incident as this puts in fear many officials and personnel serving to protect the people and the state,” CSWO president Agnes Kharshiing said.

“The NIA has to find out if the phone of this officer was tapped. The big bosses, who are involved in shady deals — ranging from corruption to coal mining to allowing extortion — have the knowhow to tap the calls of all those who oppose them in their offences,” Kharshiing said.

The recovery of the two bodies was made following the arrest of ASAK militant Sengnal D. Shira, whose brother Sengbat D. Shira is the prime accused in the kidnapping and killing of Singh and Saha, from Tura, the district headquarters of West Garo Hills on October 22.

During the interrogation, Sengnal revealed that the kidnapped IB officer and cloth merchant were killed and led the police team to the forest area where the two hostages were buried in a pit near Bolchugre village, bordering Bangladesh, about 450 km from here.

The family members of Singh and Saha are expected to arrive at Baghmara, the district headquarters of South Garo Hills, on Monday to identify and claim the bodies.

Condemning the killing of the IB official and the cloth merchant, Kharshiing claimed that her organisation was informed by “inside sources” that there are many targeted killings and kidnappings.

“Coal barons and businessmen having proximity with high ranking cops of the state are never targeted but are allowed to get away with any crime,” the CSWO president alleged.

“This puts in danger the lives of many honest officers and personnel who want to speak out against wrongdoings in the system but fear for their lives. This in turn leaves the public in fear of police and government, and they dare not fight for their rights,” she said.

ASAK militants kidnapped the two on September 24 at a gunpoint from an area between Ampangre and Panda reserve forest.

Singh and Saha were travelling in a public vehicle when ASAK militants stopped the vehicle, separated them from the other passengers and whisked them away.

ASAK, which means “vanguard of Garoland”, is fighting for a separate Garoland, but denied its involvement in the kidnapping and killing of the two men.

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 the officer and the cloth merchant were “executed in revenge for atrocities against Bangla nationals” in the border region.

Meghalaya Police and intelligence agencies, however, maintained that ASAK militants were behind the abduction.

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