2 million Indian Rupees paid in ransom

Security: The two Bhutanese men, who were kidnapped from Bhur, Gelephu, on January 22, were released yesterday after paying a ransom of Rupee 2M.

Initially kidnappers had demanded Nu 30M, which was brought down to Nu 20M. It was further negotiated to Nu 9M and then it was agreed at Nu 2M. Family members said kidnaper called almost every day for money.

On the morning of February 27, the kidnapers directed mother of the 16-year-old student of Gelephu Higher Secondary School to come with the money.  Towards the afternoon, Bishnu Maya Rai and her brother took an Indian taxi from Dadghari. From there, the kidnapers directed the taxi driver to come towards Ranikhatta, about two hours drive away from Gelephu town.

About three kilometers further from Ranikhatta, near a bridge, a young boy was waiting to collect the money, Bishnu Maya Rai said. As soon as the money was handed, he ran away. Over the phone, the mother was told that her son would reach home in next six hours.

Bishnu Maya and her brother reached home around midnight.

Yesterday, at 7am, the student and the driver were reached until Tukrey, an Indian village about 10 minutes walk down from the house of the kidnapped. Bishnu Maya Rai’s husband, Kesar Man Rai, went to pick them up as soon as he received a call. They were taken to hospital immediately for check up.

The 16-year-old was in shock. He said that when they were abducted from the piggery, one of the abductors was wearing camouflage trousers and not Royal Bhutan Army uniform; two of the six were carrying locally made guns.

Bal Bdr Subba, one of the kidnapped, said that on the night of the incident they were walked down from beside the Paitha river. Both of them were beaten for walking slow.

“For one night our feet were tied. Two of us were kept together but slept away from each other,” he said. He added that the next day the kidnapers moved them about three kilometres down from Tukrey village, into the forest.  They were kept moving everyday.

Kesar Man Rai said that the ransom amount was arranged from friends, relatives and neighbours.  “I’m thankful to police who rendered continues support in bringing back my son and driver,” he said. He said that while he is grateful to everyone who helped, he is disappointed that none of the elected members from Sarpang dzongkhag even called.

“As people’s representative I expected them to be concerned when their people are in problem,” he said.

Gelephu police said that with the help of Indian police, kidnapers have been identified but are still at large.

The two suspects from Tukrey were also released yesterday.

Nirmala Pokhrel, Gelephu