Home India News One month in captivity, released Andhra engineer tells all

One month in captivity, released Andhra engineer tells all

By Syed Zarir Hussain, IANS,

Guwahati : From apples to fruit bread, the captors of 50-year-old Andhra Pradesh civil engineer P. Krishna Rao tried their best to entertain him, but one month in captivity and constantly being guarded by armed militants has left him feeling traumatised.

Rao, who was kidnapped Oct 16 by militants of the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), was released Tuesday in western Assam’s Kokrajhar district.

“We changed locations four to five times, but all these days we had stayed deep inside the jungles and slept under makeshift tents. Two to three armed militants kept vigil round the clock,” Rao told IANS in an interview hours after he was released.

Rao looked frail and exhausted when he was brought to Guwahati for a health check-up. He will board a flight for Andhra Pradesh later Wednesday.

“They behaved and treated me well. I was given apples, fruit bread, and vegetarian food to eat, although I was not able to eat anything due to tension,” Rao said in a feeble and faint voice.

Rao was project manager of the Gayatri Construction Company that is engaged in four lane highway construction work in Kokrajhar district.

“I was shocked and surprised when I was kidnapped. They said they would not harm me and simply wanted to make their voices heard for their fight for an independent homeland for the Bodo tribe…maybe I was kidnapped to get publicity,” Rao said.

Rao’s dogged determination and his faith in god helped him survive.

“Almost every one hour I prayed to god and asked him to help me be released from their clutches. I also requested the militants to release me saying I had health problems (diabetes, hyper-tension, cardiac problems) and they always said you will be released, don’t worry,” Rao said.

It was evident that Stockholm Syndrome had affected Rao (a psychological response seen in abducted hostages, in which the hostage shows signs of loyalty to the hostage-taker).

“They were kind and even asked me on the first day itself to speak to my family on the phone. My family back home didn’t have a phone connection and so I could not speak,” Rao said in a choked voice.

Rao, however, said he never came face to face with security forces.

“I got a hint in the past three days that I would be released. On Monday night, we walked for miles…I was panting and so walked some distance and sat and finally reached the highway where I was given a warm farewell with handshakes and the captors saying sorry for keeping me hostage for a month,” Rao said.

Rao is leaving for Gannavaram in the coastal district of Krishna in Andhra Pradesh Wednesday to be with his family.

“I would once again come and work in Kokrajhar as I have to feed my family. We are poor people and I have two sons. Without a job, how can I raise my family,” Rao said as tears welled up in his eyes.

“I don’t know if any ransom money was paid as I was in their custody. But I have no ill feelings for Assam and my captors.”