Rs 5 crore ransom demanded for kidnapped communications professional

Suspected National Liberation Front of Tripura militants have issued a ransom demand of Rs 5 crores for the release of a telecommunications professional kidnapped with two others at the Indo-Bangladesh border on November 23.

A senior police official said the ransom demand was made directly to the company that employs Deep Mandal, a resident of Kolkata, and for which he was on duty when he and two others were abducted near an abandoned anti-poaching camp in Mizoram's Mamit district and taken into the jungle on the other side of the international border.

The two drivers, both Mizos, had contacted their relatives through phone on Thursday and said they were fine. The kidnappers have not made a ransom demand for the duo.

Police have meanwhile stepped up security at and near the site of the kidnapping, stationing armed police who have set up a camp there.

Meanwhile, a Bru leader said a four-member delegation of Brus who entered Bangladesh to try and secure the release of Mandal and the two drivers, Sanglianthanga and Lalzamliana, were able to meet the kidnappers but could not get them freed immediately. The delegation was reportedly heading back into Mizoram on Friday.

Bru leaders from 20 villages had pooled finances to fund the delegation even as Mizo groups condemned the kidnapping and blamed it on Bru militants. There has been a two-decade history of ethnic differences between Mizos and Brus in Mizoram.

The NLFT draws it's rank and file from various tribes that have historically settled in Tripura and has been claiming to fight for the reclamation of Tripura by targeting Bengali settlers whom it considers outsiders.

The group has carried out several kidnappings in Mizoram in the past few years, abducting people near the international border and taking them to the jungles of Bangladesh. In June this year, NLFT cadres had kidnapped three men, two of them contractors, near Rajiv Nagar town in the same Mamit district.

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