Abducted official offered dog meat by Garo militants

Sunday, December 5, 2010

SHILLONG - A Meghalaya government official, abducted and held hostage by Garo rebels for nearly two months, Sunday said he had been offered dog meat during his captivity but subsisted on a vegetarian diet.

“They (the rebels) always went to nearby villages and brought dog meat, pork, dry rotis (chapattis) and (lentil) dal for our meals into our makeshift camps inside the jungle,” R. Syngkon told IANS here.

“They cook very well although my food was very basic, consisting of dal and dry rotis. My nephew shared the militants’ diet of dog meat, pork and rice. Everything was very tasty,” said Syngkon, who is diabetic.

Syngkon, the district transport officer of East Garo Hills district, and his nephew Wanbormi Syngkon were kidnapped by Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) rebels Sep 30 from his residence in district headquarters, Williamnagar. They were freed on Nov 24.

He said the rebels kept strict meal timings and there was also a strict restriction on smoking, chewing of tobacco and consumption of alcohol.

“We were given our first meal every morning at 8 a.m. and dinner was served at 4 p.m.,” Syngkon said.

GNLA, one of the five Garo rebel groups, is demanding a sovereign Garoland in western Meghalaya.

The group is also believed to have links with rebel groups like the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).

Syngkon said he had treated well enough by his abductors.

“One day I was unconscious and blood was oozing out of my nose. They (GNLA) immediately brought a pharmacist inside the jungle and gave me an injection and drip (intravenous saline,)” he added.

“They (GNLA) didn’t want anything to happen to me and I was told that they will release me seeing my health condition,” Syngkon said.

Asked the reason behind his abduction, especially when GNLA chief Champion R.Sangma and he knew each while in service, Syngkon said he had no clue. “Yes, he was my good friend, but I don’t know why he chose to abduct me.” The GNLA had said that they abducted him for his corrupt practices and wanted to “teach him a lesson”.

Syngkon said not once did he see the GNLA chairman during his period of captivity. “I don’t know why he didn’t turn up to see me, he must have been shy,” he said.

Denying paying a ransom of Rs.50 lakh, out of the Rs 1.80 crore demanded for his release, he said: “When I was informed about the demand. I told them you can shoot me because I don’t have that kind of an amount.”

“Nothing was paid to them for my release. In fact, they had some plans, but seeing my ill-health they didn’t want anything to happen to me. In fact the GNLA leader, Sohan D. Shira spoke to me over the phone on Nov 24 informing a vehicle has been arranged to take me to Guwahati,” he added.

Filed under: Terrorism

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