Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu on Thursday appealed to the abductors to release immediately Vilash Bardekar, Joint Director, Social Forestry, Maharashtra, on humanitarian grounds.

The senior Indian Forest Service official was kidnapped from Kamengbari in West Kameng district of the State on May 12 by suspected militants while he was carrying out research on butterflies. The officer had nothing to do with any militant group or organisation, said an official release.

Official sources said about 700 personnel of the Arunachal Pradesh police, the Assam police and the Central Reserve Police Force have fanned out in West Kameng district and the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border areas as part of the search operations.

Although no militant outfit has claimed responsibility for the abduction, police suspect it to be handiwork of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (Ranjan Daimary faction) as its cadres are active in these areas.

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