Plea to release highway drivers abducted for ransom

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Imphal: Suspected Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF) abducted four highway transporters on Thursday for extortion, where two drivers were released on Friday but two are still at their custody.

The four transporters were Khumumayum Subol Singh, 52, son of Kh.  Dhana of Andro Bazaar; Irengbam Washington Singh, 30, son of I. Nongyai of Ningthoukhong ward number 4; Thangjam Pal of Khurai and Mani of Khurai Sajor Leikai who is the assistant driver were kidnapped from Khoupum Bazaar in Tamenglong district near Drivers Association counter demanding ransom.

Subol and Washington were released at around 2 pm of Friday. However, Pal and Mani were still under the custody of the suspected ZUF.

Secretary general of All Manipur Road Transport Drivers’ and Motor Worker’s Union (AMRTDMW) Anil Maimom said by serving along the national highway transporters for the people the transporters are feeding their family. Transporters should not be considered as enemy.

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He appealed to release them at the earliest as they are the sole bread earners of their respective family and any misunderstanding could be solved on negotiating table.

Anil said some of the transport owners tried to escape from such similar incidents. He cautioned the transport owners not to remain silent in such incidents. The transporters might take cease work strike along the national highway if the owners failed to take necessary steps.

The Khurai Social Youth Club (KSYC) on demanded immediate release of the truck driver who were allegedly abducted ZUF on Thursday.

The club also warned of taking up “chaka bandh” strike in the Lamlong bazar in Imphal East if the truck driver is not released by Sunday.

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Pal with his family’s truck was hired by one government contractor Takhelmayum Robin for transportation of fertilizer from Jiribam on May 18, advisor of KSYC W. Munindro said.

In the evening of May 19, Pan called up his family from his mobile phone to inform them that he was abducted by the ZUF and asked his family members to contact contractor Robin for the details, he said adding Pal phone was off since he disconnected the call.

He informed that when the family members through the KSYC contacted the contractor on phone, he informed that Pal will be released soon, however Pan’s family members have not even got a call from Pal.

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On the other hand, the contractor is not willing to neither meet the family members of Pal personnel nor give any cooperation to the KSYC in finding the whereabouts of Pal, he added.

“Such negligence of Robin seems like he is involved in the conspiracy of the abduction,” he said.

The monetary demand may be to the contractor or the government and now Pal has become the scapegoat, he added.

The contractor should hold full responsibility if any untoward incident happens to Pal, he said.

The club had decided to lodge a complaint to Nungba police station which is the alleged place of occurrence of the abduction, he added.

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