Ulfa (I) Abduction Case: No Success in Rescue Ops; Hostage’s Family Worries as Deadline Nears
GUWAHATI: Assam Police found itself in a tight spot as two employees of Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Limited including one from the state’s Sivasagar district continued to be kept captive by the banned outfit of Ulfa (Independent) for over a month.
Pranab Kumar Gogoi, a drilling superintendent, and Ram Kumar, a radio operator of the company, were abducted by Ulfa (I) on December 21 from the company’s drilling location in Diyun in Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang district. Kumar hails from Khagaria district in Bihar.
Though security forces reportedly launched an operation to rescue the duo, they were unable to do so yet.
Assam Police chief Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta on Wednesday said, “It’s not our case. They were kidnapped from Arunachal Pradesh and therefore state police can’t intervene. Arunachal Pradesh is doing the probe and we are in touch with our counterparts there and ensuring all possible support.”
However, Ulfa (I) in a recent statement claimed that security forces under the Unified Command structure including Assam Police have launched an operation against the outfit. It said, “The nod to initiate the operation was given by Assam and Arunachal Pradesh CMs. Chiefs of the Unified Command have been given the responsibility of making the operation successful along with defence, military, civil and Assam Police intelligence establishments.”
The outfit gave an ultimatum warned that the chief ministers of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh would be responsible if two abducted employees of a private oil drilling company die in an ‘undesired incident’.
“We believe that instead of getting the officials released alive, the Indian establishment wants to end their operation by killing the two and putting the entire blame on ULFA-I,” the Ulfa(I) statement added. Sources said that Ulfa (I) had demanded Rs 20 Crore as a ransom for the release of the duo.
The banned militant group gave a February 16 deadline to Quippo to secure the release of its employees. It threatened that if the deadline is not met, it would take action against Kumar, who hails from Bihar.
Meanwhile, Gogoi’s family members urged chief minister Sonowal to quickly respond to their prayers and rescue him. His wife said that she had personally met the CM during the Prime Minister’s visit to Jerenga Pathar in Sivasagar on January 23.
She cried, “I urge the chief minister to kindly bring back my husband. It’s been almost one and half months and nothing positive has happened so far for his release.”
On January 20, Ulfa (I) had released a video of the two abducted employees where they appealed to the chief ministers of Assam and Bihar to secure their release.
Sources claimed that Ulfa (I) had possibly kept the duo captive somewhere deep inside the Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh which shares its border with Myanmar, where the outfit is believed to have several hideouts.