Shillong: A Meghalaya government official, abducted by militant outfit Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), was released unharmed after seven days early Tuesday, police said.
Jude Rangku T Sangma, the block development officer of Chokpot in south Garo Hills district “was released unharmed” at Allagre village, Inspector General of Police (western range), FD Sangma told IANS.
“The officer has reached his parental home at Tura this morning. He is resting now and we will talk to him later in the day,” Sangma said.
Jude’s “unconditional release” by the militants comes after public pressure from several quarters, including political parties, demanding for his immediate and unconditional release.
On October 27, the GNLA militants abducted the officer on ransom from Diganggre area in south Garo Hills district while he was on his way to Tura, district headquarters of west Garo Hills.
The officer, posted in Chokpot block, a militant hub, for more than two years, had received several threats and extortion demands from the GNLA but he did not pay heed to them.
However, the GNLA claimed that the officer was kidnapped for indulging in “corrupt practices”.
The militants even threatened to eliminate the officer while demanding a stop to counter-insurgency operations in insurgency-ravaged districts of Garo Hills in western Meghalaya.
The GNLA is fighting for a separate Garoland in the western part of Meghalaya.
Many states are gearing up for the North-East Assembly elections 2018 that are being said to be the defining factor for the future political dynamics of India. Elections dates in the on-going states of Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Tripura were February 18 for Tripura, while the other two states will hold their round of elections on February 27. The elections will be held in two phases, and the results will be announced on March 3.
Many parties are looking forward to extending their political reach in the north-eastern region. North-East Assembly elections 2018 will directly affect the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and subsequent government formation.
Here is everything you need to know about the north-east assembly elections 2018:
1. The incumbent assembly tenure in Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Tripura will end on March 6, 13 and 14 respectively. Each of these states has a 60-member assembly.
2. In all the three states, Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) have been implemented.
3. VVPAT machines are being implemented in Meghalaya for the first time since its formation in 1970. Voters had been using the ballot-paper until now.
4. The Election Commission of India had asked Assam Rifles (India’s oldest paramilitary force) to reinforce the Indo-Myanmar border in Nagaland in order to prevent any form of disturbance before the polls. The state has been suffering insurgent movements and cross-border militant infiltration.
5. To increase the participation of women, the Election Commission has installed 60 Pink booths that will be managed by women staff. The booths will be placed in every constituency.
6. 86,890 votes in Meghalaya aged between 18 and 19 years will be exercising their vote for the first time. To encourage these first-time voters, the EC felicitated them on National Voters Day on January 25.
7. The Election Commission will monitor the elections live through webcast and CCTV cameras to ensure a fair and free election.
8. Around 193 polling booths in Meghalaya will be directly webcasted to the Chief Electoral Officer or District Electoral Officer and Election Commission of India.
Ramendra Chandra is the current speaker of the Eleventh Legislative Assembly.
Since 1993, the CPI(M) has been in power in the state.
While BJP has 7 MLAs in the state assembly and is also the main opposition party.
Manik Sarkar, the Chief Minister of Tripura, is a Politburo Member of Communist Party of India (Marxist).
He became the Chief Minister for the fourth time after 2013 Assembly Elections.
Manik Sarkar is known for his honesty and low monetary resources.
The Meghalaya Legislative Assembly was constituted as a directly elected body in 1972 comprising 60 members.
50.4% registered voters were women (outnumbering men) in the final electoral rolls of the state.
With a total population of 3.2 million, Meghalaya has a literacy rate of 74.4%.
Unlike Tripura, no one in Meghalaya registered for the third gender option in the final rolls.
597 polling stations have been increased from 2,485 in 2013 to 3,082 in 2018. It’s an increase of about 24%.
On 1 December 1963, Nagaland became a state of India. Also, the first Nagaland Legislative Assembly was formed on 11 February 1964.
The strength of the state assembly was increased to 60 members in 1974.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the assembly election in the state will be held on schedule amidst a demand by the state’s civil society groups for deferring the polls to facilitate a solution to the vexed Naga insurgency issue.
The expectations for a lasting peace have soared in Nagaland, which had been hit by insurgency for decades after the Centre and the NSCN-IM signed a framework agreement in 2015.