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Assam CM Makes Appeal to ULFA(I) Chief Paresh Baruah; Here’s What He Said

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DISPUR: Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday appealed the ULFA-I Chief Paresh Baruah to return Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) employee to Assam. Sarma said that the insurgents are keeping him across the border in Myanmar.

Saikia is in ULFA-I custody in Myanmar, close to the Indo-Myanmar border. We are taking all possible steps to bring him back without any harm,” Sarma has been quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, ULFA(I) has confirmed that Saikia, who was abducted last month, is indeed in their custody. Ritul Saikia, a junior engineer assistant, was one of the three ONGC employees to have been abducted from an ONGC rig site in Assam’s Sivasagar district on April 21.

Interestingly, the ULFA(I) claimed after the gunfight with security forces that it had released all three abductees. Furthermore, it had hinted that Saikia might have fallen prey to astray bullets during the army’s assault on the rebels.

Earlier, Sarma visited the ONGC employee’s home at Titabar in Jorhat district and assured them that all efforts were underway to secure his release. The chief minister told scribes that efforts are underway to secure his release.

Both Sarma and his predecessor Sarbananda Sonowal had repeatedly appealed the dreaded insurgents to sit down for talks with the Home Minister. Baruah, who heads the non-talks faction of the group, however, has not been so compliant.

ULFA(I) and Myanmar-faction of NSCN (K) had taken Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Limited’s drilling superintendent Pranab Kumar Gogoi (51) and radio operator Ram Kumar (35) from Kumchaikha hydrocarbon drilling site near Innao in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh, which borders Myanmar on December 21 last. Both were released earlier this year after a ‘settlement’ with the employers.

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