Kidnapped Maharashtra official freed after 78 days in Arunachal


Pune : Senior Maharashtra bureaucrat Vijay S. Bardekar, who was kidnapped May 13 from Arunachal Pradesh where he had gone on a vacation, has been released from captivity by alleged Bodo militants after 78 days, a family member said here Monday.

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Bardekar is expected to return to his home town here Tuesday. He was released by his captors Sunday and handed over to his family members who are currently in Guwahati in Assam, former Maharashtra inspector general of police and Baredkar’s uncle S.S. Suradkar said.

“It was because of the prayers of people of Maharashtra and other parts of India, and the strong efforts by Maharashtra Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam and others which brought joy to the family,” Suradkar told IANS.

The development came in the wake of efforts for nearly 10 weeks by his family members, the chief ministers of Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and the central government to secure his safe release.

Bardekar, in his early 50s, is a 1984 batch Indian Forest Service official and is currently posted as joint director (administration) in the social forestry directorate in Pune.

Bardekar was reportedly kidnapped from Daimara village in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh when he was preparing to spend the night there. Two other locals accompanying him were brutally assaulted by the suspected militants, who abducted Bardekar.

The suspected kidnapping was carried out by around a dozen militants belonging to the National Democratic Front of Bodoland, which also refers to itself as Bodo Security Force.

Bardekar was on a fortnight’s leave to pursue his hobby of watching butterflies, which abound in that region, Suradkar said.