All SBI branches remain closed in Meghalaya

Raju Das

Employees of State Bank of India taking out a protest march in Shillong on Monday demanding immediate release of SBI employee Subodh Kumar Mishra who was abducted by militants. – UB Photos
 SHILLONG, Aug 11 – All State Bank of India (SBI) branches across Meghalaya remained closed on Monday in protest against the alleged government failure to protect its employees and the public from kidnappers and extortionists.In the State capital, a silent protest march was taken out today by employees of the SBI from its Zonal office at Dhankethi and later culminated at SBI main branch at Police Bazaar.
The strike was called after SBI employee Subodh Kumar Mishra was abducted on Tuesday last at by suspected militants in Barengapara, near Dalu in West Garo Hills. The official was serving in a remote part of Garo Hills in SBI’s Gasuapara branch in South Garo Hills.
Biman B Bhattacharya, Deputy General Secretary of SBI Staff Association said that the government would be given a few days time to get the abducted SBI official released from the militants, after which the entire Northeastern Circle or Guwahati Circle would go on strike.
“The SBI branches in Garo Hills would be on an indefinite strike until the bank official is released,” he said.
The staff of the bank went on a one-day strike saying that its staff have been targetted frequently by kidnappers in the State and the State Government was doing precious little to protect them and members of the public.
“We have seen that even after several abduction cases of our staff members in particular and the innocent public in general, the State Government has not taken any constructive steps to protect us, especially those who are serving in the rural areas,” the Association said.
Suspected militants waylaid Mishra on the highway when he was returning to his quarters in Barengapara. Reportedly, the militants are now demanding a ransom of Rs 15 lakh for the release of the official.
Last month, another SBI official, Aravind Kumar was abducted from Garobadha Bridge while he was on his way to Ampati, South West Garo Hills. He was later released.