Tackling Terrorism Unarmed
Samir Kumar Jha
Copyright 2021 by Samir Kumar Jha
of writing this article :
is the Memoirs of an unarmed soldier. This article has been written
with the following four purposes in
my mind :
2009 : Jan-June
- To make Govt. of India and
Govt. officials aware what was happening in this area
- To make people of Non-north
east aware what was happening in North-East India
- To provide people the necessary
skill to function effectively in this belt
- To provide some permanent
remedy to these problems.
I was new to this job as Public Relations
oil upstream industry and also the state. I was overjoyed to learn
that I would be visiting Guwahati as I had never visited North-east
earlier. I took a flight from New Delhi along with my new boss , Mr.
Ashok Saikia . During journey he told me how important his family was
there from political angle. His father,Mr. Hiteshwar Saikia was twice
the chief minister of Assam and had been the governor of Manipur .His
mother was state minister and brother was also politically active .
I landed at Guwahati on 18th
2009 morning and left next day for our camp site at Lumding ( falls
in Nagaon district of Assam ) . Our operations was going on smoothly
informed that many cease fire groups were there in that area and
Army camps were also there . We were conveyed that nothing would happen
to us and our project would run smoothly .
resting at camp and doing office work in
terrorist area of Assam
face to face with ‘terror’
day on 3rd February when I was accompanying my
members in five vehicles ( Tata Sumos) two boys of hardly 14 years
old waived their hands and asked us to stop our vehicles .When I got
down the vehicle and asked them the reason they conveyed we cannot
go to our work . We should first meet the Sardar, their chief.
Inspite of repeated requests to him that we should be allowed to work
and we would meet the Sardar in the evening they refused . Finally
after repeated persuasion they allowed us to work provided we would
meet the Sardar in evening .
In evening I went alone. I was having two
feelings –fear of meeting terrorist, curiosity and desire to
know what type of people are they ? I was directed to wait near a
tree. After sometimes two persons came who told me to go inside a
particular house. After waiting for few minutes then came a strong
built-up person who told me that we have to give some donations as
per the cost of our project . I should convey to my seniors and I
would be called after three –four days the exact amount would
Exactly after 2days i.e. on 5th
4 officers were kidnapped .
seismic survey (a project which is the first stage of oil
exploration) came to halt for indefinite period resulting in time and
asked to go to Police station to lodge FIR. Police station was also
located in deep forest area itself. My driver and other staff refused
to go because of fear of being killed/kidnapped in deep forest.
Finally I went alone with a driver and lodged FIR against unknown
days one survey supervisor received a phone call at Lumding that all
our persons had been kidnapped by a’Black Kobra ‘ group
. If we wanted to rescue our concerned person we could talk on a particular
in morning I conveyed to my VP (Vice President) at Head Office ,New
Delhi this incident.
after two days a phone call was received by Mr. Saikia,our Senior VP
regarding ransom money call .The kidnappers introduced themselves
of belonging to a particular cease fire group. Demand was Rs. 4
crore.Days began to pass. Negotiations with kidnappers continued for
reducing ransom money .We were just worried what must be happening to
week I was told to send clothes of kidnapped staff to Army unit
located in forest .It would help Police dog to smell and follow them
. Then again staff had so much fear in mind that I had to go alone to
landed at Army unit in forest Second-in-command ,Lt. Col. Rajesh
Shukla greeted me. I was offered lunch. SP was there and army was
making its troop ready for search. Police wing was also getting ready
.In night I had to share double bed with SP who was quite reluctant .
operation continued for the night and next 3-4 days. I left in
morning for my office.
Project had come to halt .
around 45 days I was told by my VP to go to nearest police station .
were relieved and I had to collect them from Police Station .
reached Police Station one other cease-fire group was there who had
helped us in getting these people back and one DySP (Deputy
Superintendent of Police )was also there . After completing
formalities at Police Station our 4 vehicles left for our camp along
with DySP and our released staff.
in terrorist area ,Halflong,Assam
Narration by kidnapped
staff when released narrated their story . They said that they were
offered monkeys and dogs as food . Since they could not think of
eating these they used to eat often fruits , rice and pulse . They
were not beaten by kidnappers but as days passed by they were losing
hope of returning alive.
“Second kidnapping :Assam season : Oct-May 2010
supposed to go with our staff but was told no to go as there was some
other work related to Police station/Govt. office .
as I was that inspite of their target I just escaped but they
kidnapped our 3 staff which we came to know in evening .
field kidnappers took four and left others .After 2 days we received
the name of the group and ransom money of twenty lakh . Our Head
iffice negotiated . Since we had second experience tension in camp
was less. After a week’s negotiation our people we re relieved
I used to visit Police stations in my city frequently . Once I was
called by SP for some meeting in district headquarters, NC Hills .
After the meeting was over SP said to take escort of police man for
my return journey .Being a civilian common man I was thrilled to
listen to his offer but I denied thinking it is not needed .
in train. It was a local MG (Meter Gauge)train which commutes short
distances and has no reserved compartments or upper class. .Train was
almost full .Just Infront of me a policeman was travelling . He
knew me so while chitchatting wih him journey was going on but soon
he got down on next station .
night darkness was engulfing the train . Train was having darkness
inside. Incidentally outside station was also dark .
station a person requested to sit next to me . Though there was no
space available on humanitarian ground I offered him space next to
me.All were elderly people except a man left to me was a young Army
boy.Around 10 PM when almost all in coach were drowsing the person
next to me (whom I had offered seat) asked me for my mobile. I asked
him ,why he wanted my mobile . He said there is no reason but he
insisted .Gradually he took out his revolver and was about to press
on my cheek. . Since mobile was not very expensive costing around Rs.
2500 ( no smart phone that time) and not giving involved risk to life
I handed over my mobile to him. Suddenly he stood up and started
collecting from one other person also. When he asked Army boy who was
almost sleeping, he grabbed his hand and both started fighting.
Revolver bullet was about to hit train roof. We were scared and
covering our head to save from bullet. Now fighting further escalated
with fist etc. They were moving in whole coach .Suddenly the robber
jumped out of the train.
asking for SP office repair fund
I had gone
to NC Hills SP office for asking assistance of Home guards for
security of our staff due to threat of cease fire . SP told me
clearly that SP office requires repair and it is short of fund .
Hence he asked me to fund it in a different name .
discussing with my boss ,Senior VP who himself was from a political
family I denied this illegal help to SP .
of Shaan ,singer
Shaan is a
famous and well known singer .An event of his music was organized in
Lumding ,Assam . I ws just wondering what type of programme will be
there in terrorist affected area . So I went there to watch the
programme .After 1-2 hours people began throwing chairs on each other
.Programme was interrupted and finally it came to halt.
demands put-up from time-to-time:
value of demand -Annual(Rs.)-Lac
|| Rs. 15
Lac plus a vehicle
for our camp in their area
for Bihu,Bodoland festival
to my life
message conveyed by Army
call to our contractors
call to us
posted in Vadodara I thought situation would be comfortable here as
Gujarat is a peaceful state. A rich state, prosperous state and far
from terrorism and other issues .
But alas I
was mistaken. Farmers were behaving as bad as terrorists . They were
not allowing us to proceed with work unless the demands raised by
them were met .The demands used to be as follows :
- Too high
rates of compensation
not allow at any cost to do
entered at times our office and threw chairs in sky and created
:Army commander controlling that area told me when
what was the solution of these problems .He told me clearly,”To-day
they are asking for money and raising threats .To-morrow they would
ask for your wife.Would you give them ?”
solution is unless and until we are not afraid of what they ask for
and unless and until we refuse to try to fulfill their demand ,the
environment of terror would disappear and they would no longer be
terrorists but would be converted to general criminals .
(Assam is state in Northeast India and
Guwahati is its capital. Manipur is
another state .Rs. is Indian Currency.)
was editor my
school magazine .
Master’s in Business Administration from IIM (India) .Currently
working with an MNC .
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
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