Militants abduct ONGC official's son, seek 20L ransom

JORHAT/IMPHAL: Suspected Naga militants on Tuesday kidnapped Murtaj Ali (24), an MCA student of the Guwahati-based Central IT College, and demanded Rs 20 lakh as ransom from his family to free him.

Murtaj, whose father works at the ONGC's Sivasagar unit, is a resident of the Arjunguri area in Sivasagar town. According to sources, the youth had gone out of his home in the family car on Monday evening and did not return.

Police found the car near the campus of Jorhat Medical College and Hospital on Tuesday morning and launched an investigation. Murtaj's father, Mahmmad Ali, said, "My son went out of home around 6.30 pm on Monday for some shopping. He called up his mother around 7 pm, saying he would return by 8 pm after meeting one of his friends."

He added, "When he did not return home by 9 pm, my wife called him up. Murtaj told her he will be back soon. But he did not return and we spent a tensed night. We fear that some militant outfits have picked him up for ransom." On Tuesday morning, he came to Jorhat after police informed him about his car being abandoned in the town.

Jorhat (Sadar) police station officer-in-charge Bakul Gogoi said, "We found a car near JMCH campus and identified its owner as Mahmmad Ali. Some militant outfits have kidnapped his son. We are yet to identify the group. But its members have called up a relative of Mahammad and demanded Rs 20 lakh as ransom." He added, "The kidnappers spoke in Nagamese. We suspect some Naga rebels are involved in the abduction. We are investigating."

Sivasagar (Sadar) police station officer in-charge Devaranjan Sarma said, "We have registered a case of kidnapping and extortion. We have also launched an operation along with our Jorhat counterparts to free the abducted youth."

In recent past, Naga militants have become active in three upper Assam districts of Jorhat, Golaghat and Sivasagar. On January, Naga militants kidnapped a businessman from Sarupathar Golapani Tiniali in Golaghat. A few months ago, another trader was abducted by NSCN(IM) militants in the Halowating area of Sivasagar district for Rs 2 lakh.

In the meantime, a report from Dimapur said the NSCN (IM) on Tuesday said it will undertake prompt initiatives involving "all non-Naga immigrants residing in Nagalim in the age group of 16 years and above" to contain the menace of unregulated immigration there. The circular said registration of shops and business establishments will continue with some minor reviews.