Maharashtra officer ‘kidnapped’ in Arunachal untraced


Mumbai : There has been no trace of high-ranking Maharashtra forest officer Vijay S. Bardekar who was allegedly kidnapped by suspected Bodo militants in Arunachal Pradesh, where he was on a vacation, a minister said here Saturday.

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“Chief Minister Ashok Chavan is in regular touch with his counterparts in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. So far we have no information on the whereabouts of the missing officer,” Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam said.

He said efforts are being made by the state governments and security agencies of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to track down Bardekar, who was allegedly kidnapped Thursday night.

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

His aged father, Sudhakar Bardekar, told mediapersons in Pune that his family was “extremely concerned” about Bardekar, but was hopeful that the security forces would succeed in tracing him and getting him released from his abductors.

According to reports reaching here Friday, Bardekar was reportedly kidnapped from Daimara village in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh late Thursday when he was preparing to spend the night there.

Two 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 the Bodo Security Force, the reports said.

“He (Bardekar) was on leave to pursue his hobby of observing butterflies, which abound in that region,” an official told IANS.

It is suspected that Bardekar may not have been discreet enough about his identity as required for any government officers travelling in troubled or border areas. The official said Bardekar may not have exercised precautions like avoiding use of mobiles and identifying himself openly in public which could have alerted the alleged kidnappers.

On a fortnight’s leave, Bardekar was expected to resume his duties in Pune from May 24.