ULFA declares it will take ‘extreme steps’ against abducted men

The ULFA-I statement, signed by the outfit’s “publicity cell” member Rumel Asom, said that its demands had not been fulfilled till the deadline on Friday.

The United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) Friday warned of “extreme steps” against the two oil drilling company employees it abducted for ransom in December.

An ULFA-I statement, signed by the outfit’s “publicity cell” member Rumel Asom, said that its demands had not been fulfilled till the deadline on Friday. It said the “extreme steps” would be taken against Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Ltd employees PK Gogoi and Ram Kumar in the coming week.

The outfit also declared that Quippo was henceforth “prohibited” from carrying out work in the entire South East Asia region.

Gogoi, a drilling superintendent, and Kumar, a radio operator, were kidnapped by around a dozen armed militants from a drilling site near Innao in Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang district on December 21.

Senior Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma Friday urged ULFA chief Paresh Barua to release the two, saying that if “something unfortunate” were to happen, the Assamese people would be compared to the Taliban. “We earnestly request Paresh Barua to release the duo… We don’t want Assam and India to be painted red with blood… If something unfortunate happens to the two persons, then Assam’s head will hang in shame. Our community will be compared to Talibans.”

Sources said that the initial ransom demand by the abductors was Rs 20 crore, but it has come down to half the sum following negotiations.
Changlang SP Mihin Gambo told The Indian Express: “I cant comment on the (ULFA) statement right now. All I can say is our rescue operations are ongoing on.”

Quippo provides onshore drilling services. Gogoi is from Sivasagar district in Assam while Kumar is from Bihar’s Khagaria district.

A Quippo spokesperson told The Indian Express: “We have been actively talking on a daily basis. We have given them what best we can offer. In fact employees have also pitched in. Guess it is not to their satisfaction. We will still engage with them to resolve this. We will leave no stone unturned to have our people back.”

Ramkumar Diwakar, the father-in-law of Kumar, spoke to The Indian Express over phone from Samastipur in Bihar. “The BJP is in power in Centre, in Arunachal Pradesh, in Bihar and in Assam. They can’t save two lives? We are not getting any response from any government whereas the company has said that they cannot offer any more than what they already have. This is very sad and we are extremely worried.”

In Assam’s Sivasagar district, Gogoi’s wife Namita broke down while speaking to local reporters. “What will happen to our family if he is killed?…My tears have dried up; it’s been almost two months that I am only crying. We have been appealing to the Assam government, the ULFA and the Quippo company. No one came to our rescue. I now have only one appeal to make to Paresh Barua…that we will sell our house and pay whatever we can and then live on the streets… but please release my husband. If the government or the company do not do anything now, we have no other way…”

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