ULFA threatens to kill abducted oil firm employees after talks fail

Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has appealed to the insurgent outfit to release them unharmed

Kidnapping
The two abductees are drilling superintendent Pranab Kumar Gogoi and radio operator Ram Kumar | Representative Photo: iStock

Assam-based terrorist outfit, ULFA (Independent), has threatened to execute next week the two employees of Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Limited who were abducted last December from Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang district.

Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has appealed to the insurgent outfit to release them unharmed.

The Paresh Barua-led United Liberation Front of Asom – Independent (ULFA-I)’s threat of taking the “ultimate step” on the two abductees came on Friday.

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The two persons, drilling superintendent Pranab Kumar Gogoi of Assam and radio operator Ram Kumar from Bihar, were abducted from the Kumchaikha hydrocarbon drilling site near Innao in Changlang district on December 21 last year.

The outfit had reportedly demanded a ransom of ₹20 crore from Quippo for their release and had set February 16 as the deadline for paying it. The New Delhi-based company was hired by Oil India Limited (OIL) for drilling operations.

In an email to PTI, the ULFA(I) said talks with the Quippo authorities held from February 16 to 19 have “failed to reach any favourable conclusion and an ultimate step on the two will be taken next week.”

In a statement issued on its letterhead addressed to the people of Assam, the governments of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, and the families of the kidnapped duo, the ULFA(I) said it will take “final actions” against the abductees since the February 16-19 negotiations failed.

The outfit also asked other Quippo employees to stay away from work and pressure OIL to rehabilitate them.

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“If our instructions are ignored, then in the case of any unfortunate situation, the employees, Quippo authorities, OIL, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh governments will be
responsible for the consequences,” the outfit said in the email to PTI in Assamese.

Meanwhile, Assam minister Sarma urged ULFA(I)’s Commander in Chief Paresh Barua “with folded hands” to release the two men unharmed. He said in the case of any unfortunate incident, the world will again “look upon the Assamese as (members of) Taliban. We do not want any further bloodshed on the soil of India or Assam.”

The family members of Gogoi and Kumar recently called on Barua’s brother who also appealed to the ULFA leader to release the two.

The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) was formed in 1979 to establish a sovereign Assam through an armed movement. Barua was once the chief of its military wing. After a split in the organisation in 2011 over the leadership’s decision to join peace talks with the government, he led a faction called ULFA (Independent).

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