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Lok Sabha MP from Assam and Congress leader, Gaurav Gogoi has written a letter to Union home minister Amit Shah on February 21 requesting appropriate action to secure the safe release of two abducted employees of an oil company who are in custody of United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I).
“Given the sensitive nature of the matter and the potential threat to the lives of the two abductees, I urge you to take the matter into immediate consideration for appropriate action. The government should ensure safe return of the employees,” Gogoi wrote to Shah.
Pranab Kumar Gogoi (51), a drilling superintendent from Assam, and Ram Kumar (35), a radio operator from Bihar – were kidnapped from Kumchaikha hydrocarbon drilling site in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh on December 21 last year.
The insurgent outfit has reportedly demanded a ransom of Rs 20 crore from the company for their release and had earlier set February 16 as the deadline for the payment.
In a statement issued on Friday, the militant outfit had threatened ‘action’ in a phased manner from Monday onwards.
‘Action does not mean death’
In a development which has come as a relief to the families and well-wishers of the abducted employees, ULFA ‘commander-in-chief’ Paresh Baruah has reportedly clarified before a section of the media here on Sunday evening that the ‘action’ threatened against the two men “does not mean death” and that negotiations with the company would continue.
On Saturday, the ULFA ‘commander-in-chief’, while speaking to a local television through satellite phone, hinted that if the authorities of the oil company “change their attitude and give an assurance” then the outfit might consider negotiations with it and extend the deadline for ‘action’ on the two abducted employees of the company.
“We have been asking Quippo for negotiations, but the company has not shown any interest,” the ULFA chief told the television channel.
Meanwhile, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sarma have appealed to the ULFA (I) chief to release both the employees of the company on humanitarian grounds.
The families of the two employees along with representatives of various organisations, parties and personalities have over the past few days been requesting the militant outfit to release them safely.
(Edited by Christopher Gatphoh)