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‘Secure our release’ — abducted oil firm employees urge Assam, Bihar CMs in ULFA-I video

Assam ADGP (Law & Order) said they have been working with Arunachal Pradesh Police to ensure safe return of the two employees abducted from Changlang on 21 Dec.

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Guwahati: Two employees of the Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Limited, who were abducted from Arunachal Pradesh last month, have appealed to the state governments of Assam and Bihar for their release.

In a video released by the banned outfit United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA)-Independent Wednesday, Quippo’s drilling superintendent Pranab Kumar Gogoi (51) and radio operator Ram Kumar (35) can be seen making requests to the governments of Assam and Bihar to ensure their release.

Gogoi and Kumar were abducted on 21 December last year from the Kumchaikha hydrocarbon drilling site area, near Innao in Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang district, which borders Myanmar.

The video has confirmed that the two employees are in the custody of ULFA-I and the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN). It has not been ascertained which faction of NSCN is involved, though Changlang police had earlier suspected NSCN-K to be behind their abduction.

The men, seen wearing jackets and clean shaven, looked calm as they appealed for help.

“Because of the differences with our company, ULFA(I) and NSCN have kept us here for a month. Even after a month, the company has not taken any steps to secure my release. So, I request the company to talk to the two organisations for my release,” Gogoi can be heard saying in the video in Assamese.

He appeals to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to ensure his release and make the company reach an agreement with both the insurgent groups.

“I request Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to talk to the Assam chief minister and secure my release,” Kumar can be heard saying.

According to reports, ULFA (I) has demanded a ransom of Rs 20 crore from Quippo, a subsidiary of SREI Infrastructure Finance Ltd, for the release of its two employees. No statement has been released by the oil firm after the footage was made public. The videos are also the first confirmation that the two men are alive.


Also read: 2 Manipur editors, ‘author’ booked under sedition law, UAPA for ‘endorsing armed revolution’


In touch with Arunachal Police: Assam ADGP (Law & Order)

Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) in Assam, G.P. Singh, told ThePrint, “We are in touch with Arunachal Pradesh Police to ensure safe release of the abducted persons.”

A week ago, ULFA(I) chief Paresh Baruah had warned the New Delhi-based oil company that Kumar could be harmed if the firm did not pay the outfit its “due share” as price for exploiting the natural resources of Assam and elsewhere in the Northeast.

Baruah also warned that Kumar would be a victim if Indian security forces made any rescue attempt, and the oil firm will be responsible for the consequences.

Speaking to local TV channels on 12 January from an undisclosed location, Baruah had said that the other employee, Gogoi, who is an Assamese, would not be harmed.


Also read: Assam forms police panel to check illegal immigrants crossing border, crackdown on facilitators


 

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