Citizens' Issues
After 16 years in captivity: Tripura man's surprise homecoming
Agartala : As his family was at its wits end to obtain 50-year-old Ranjan Saha's death certificate, the banana seller startled one and all by returning home 16 years after he had been abducted by armed militants who held him captive at their hideout in Bangladesh. He was let off for "good behaviour" as he never tried to escape.
 
"Since my abduction, I had been pleading with the rebels to release me as I was the lone bread earner of my (four- member) poor family. But they always become furious and tortured me," the feeble-voiced Saha told IANS.
 
"They made me do various type of works in their camp deep in a jungle in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) (in southeast Bangladesh). I do not know the exact name of the place. There are at least 25 other people, mostly kidnapped by the extremists, also working in the same camp," he added.
 
Saha was kidnapped by the extremists of the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) from Jampuijala, 35 km south of Agartala, on April 18, 2000, along with two others. He had gone to Jampuijala to buy bananas, which he would sell in Agartala.
 
"The guerrillas also kidnapped at gunpoint two other traders along with me. They kept us blindfolded for more than a month as we had to trek through mountainous terrain before we reached the militant's camp in the CHT," he said.
 
"The abductors subsequently learnt that we would not be able to pay any ransom. Hence they made us do various types of work like cleaning and maintaining the camp, cooking and collecting water, besides other odd jobs. The two other captives who were kidnapped along with me were shifted to other unknown locations," Saha said.
 
"Despite my inability to do so due to ill health and hostile surroundings, I quietly continued with the hard work. The food was sometimes unpalatable. I was constantly praying to god to liberate me from this awful life for the sake of my wife, two sons and my beloved daughter," he said
 
According to Saha, "the militants were pleased as I never tried to run away from their camp".
 
"Recently, god might have heard my prayers. The militants released me one month back after giving me some money. I then went to relatives' house at Madhabpur in Habiganj district of Bangladesh. From there, clandestinely I crossed the border with the help of a Bangladeshi middleman and reached my house at Shibnagar in Agartala (last week)," Saha said.
 
After Saha's abduction, his family lodged a case in the Jirania police station and met a number of people, including ministers, senior police officers and other influential people in a bid to locate him.
 
"In 2007, we filed a case in a court here to get my father's death certificate. The case is still pending with the court," Ranjan Saha's elder son, Abhijit Saha, told IANS.
 
Ranjan Saha, who is now being treated at the government-run Gobind Ballabh Pant Hospital and Medical college here, was upbeat about his future.
 
"I would re-start my business afresh after my health improves," he said.
 
Saha's 45-year-old wife Sumitra explained how she struggled during the past 16 years after her husband's abduction and brought up the children by working as a cook in a neighbour's house.
 
"I am indebted to god that my younger son Rajesh got a temporary job as a representative of a private company in Kolkata. I married off my daughter Sampa and she is happy. It is only due to the god's mercy my husband returned to us," Sumitra told IANS.
 
According to Tripura Police documents, during the peak years of terrorism in the state between 1997 and 2014, over 2,430 people, including legislators, political leaders, traders, government employees and civilians were kidnapped by extremists, of whom 1,705 were subsequently released.
 
"For many years, abduction for ransom became a trade by the militants. Many people were released by the extremists after taking ransom but many people were killed as the victims' families either could not pay the money sought or did not fulfil the rebels' other demands," security and terrorism expert Manas Paul told IANS.
 
Members of NLFT and the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) undergo arms training in hideouts and covert camps in various parts of Bangladesh, which shares an 856-km border with Tripura.
 
Banned in 1997 by the central government, the two outfits advocate Tripura's secession from India. However, ATTF has become almost defunct as most of its cadres have surrendered.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Is Your Phone Secure?
While Apple vehemently opposed access to its iPhone data, FBI found a third-party, who cracked the security function on the phone. Is your mobile phone and data secure anymore
 
After successfully hacking into the encrypted Apple iPhone of one of the terrorists in San Bernardino shooting, the US Department of Justice has withdrawn legal action against the tech giant. A third-party helped the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to crack the security function without erasing contents of the iPhone used by Syed Farook who, along with his wife, killed 14 people in December 2015.
 
Apple has strongly defended its position—of not revealing or sharing software that would bypass its security features. iPhone has a feature that erases data after 10 unsuccessful unlocking attempts. A similar feature is available for other mobile phones, albeit it is not as secure as that of an iPhone. This makes you wonder whether your mobile phone, or all your data on the handset, is really secure. Can a third-party gain access to your important data easily?
 
Well, this is a grey area. There is nothing like 100% security or lack of security. Higher security level just takes more time to crack. That’s it. There are some basic security features available on a handset; but not everybody is aware of, or knows about, it. In addition, most handsets provide software-based encryption and not hardware-backed one. All Apple products carry the encryption feature. Also, almost every Android-based handset has an encryption feature, but not many know or use it.   
 

So What Is this ‘Encrypt Phone’ Facility?

Using the ‘encrypt phone’ facility, you can encrypt your accounts, settings, downloaded apps and their data, media and other files. After you encrypt your phone, assuming you have set up a screen lock (that is a pattern or numeric PIN or password), you will need to unlock the screen to decrypt the phone every time you power it on. The only other way to decrypt is to perform a factory data reset, erasing all your data. This means that only with the unlock key, you, or someone with that knowledge, can gain access. Encryption takes an hour. If you interrupt the process, you will lose some or all of your data. Another feature you may want to check is the auto-wipe which automatically erases all data and reset it to factory settings on the phone after certain unsuccessful attempts to unlock the device. But, before using this feature, make sure to back up all your data regularly.  

 

Is Your Data Secure?

What happens with stolen mobile phones? Thieves will either switch off your phone or throw away the SIM card. If there is no phone lock, it’s a cakewalk for them to sell it. If the handset is locked, it is sold at a cheaper price or taken to another regular ‘techie’. This techie will unlock the device and reset it to factory setting after which it gets sold. In short, people who get access to your device will be in a hurry to sell it off and will not be interested in the data. They may use some data on micro SD card, though. The techie may access the data and, if he finds something of interest, he may use it or sell it to others for a fee. What you can do is either use in-built encryption facility or wipe out the data remotely. 
 
On Android, there is one such facility; but you will have to download it from Play Store. It is called Android Device Manager. This helps you to find the approximate location of your phone on a map and when it was last used. However, it requires the device’s location access feature to be enabled and the mobile data or Wi-Fi connection active. If these features are turned off, Android Device Manager cannot provide any information. Once you locate your device, you can remotely ring, lock, or erase all the data using Android Device Manager. However, I wonder how many Android users in India keep the location feature on; if not, this facility is unusable. 
 
So what is your best bet to keep your mobile phone data secure? For Android devices, the encrypt phone feature is the best bet, at present. While it will give you peace of mind as long as the handset is in your possession, it will make it difficult for thieves to access the data.

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