Shillong: Setting conditions to free two abducted government engineers, the insurgent Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) on Saturday demanded a "convincing reply" from the Meghalaya government in seven days on the "poor power connectivity" in the three impoverished districts of Garo Hills.
Heavily armed GNLA rebels on Monday abducted three Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) engineers - Apus Pothmi, Boney Majaw and Marshal R Swer - at gunpoint from their residential quarters in Rongkhon area, 318 km from here. Swer was later released unharmed.
"Seven days will be given to the Meghalaya government to give us a convincing reply on the poor power connectivity in the interior areas of Garo Hills. The government must answer why there is no power connectivity," said Sohan D Shira, the military wing chief of the GNLA.
"If the government fails to give a convincing reply to the people of Garo Hills, we will have no option but to take another step," Shira added.
However, intelligence agencies and the state police believe the engineers were abducted for ransom by the tribal Garo outfit.
Several organisations, including the United Democratic Party (UDP), a key member of Meghalaya`s United Alliance government, have demanded an immediate release of the two engineers.
Security forces intensified their operation in the region to rescue the abducted trio. "The search operation is on," Rajiv Mehta, the additional director general of police (law and order), said.
CoBRA (Combat Battalion for Resolute Action) and Meghalaya`s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) commandos have been pressed into service to trace the hostages.
The GNLA earlier had sent extortion demands of Rs 50 lakh to the two engineers through SMSes.