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Paresh Baruah gives a last chance to save the Quippo employees

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GUWAHATI: ULFA (I) commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah today said the lives of the two abducted oil company employees could still be saved if someone takes the initiative to pave way for resumption of negotiation with their employers.

With a day left before the ULFA (I) deadline to end, Baruah called up a local television channel this evening to state that the outfit has been forced to decide to take extreme steps “after their employer Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Ltd has failed to respect our organisation.”

Claiming the ULFA (I) was not and organisation of “murderers”, the supreme leader of the outfit said: “We don’t want to take anybody’s life. We are not murderers. The door is not closed from our side. There is still time and we would be available for discussion if somebody, be it an individual, an organization or even the government, takes the initiative. However, the Quippo authorities will have to shed their attitude to discuss further with us.”

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The call came apparently as response to appeals from Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma as well as United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) general secretary Anup Chetia to release the two abducted employees of the oil company. Meanwhile, another state minister Chandra Mohan Patowary today said the government would never bow to ULFA’s demand.

“These companies from other parts of India have been continuously robbing our resources and when we ask for our share, they show us attitude. The Quippo authorities have shown enough attitude over the past one and a half months. Not only Quippo, there are others as well who are doing the same and we will do the same with them as well,” Baruah purportedly told the news channel.

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He also took exception of families of the two employees visiting his ancestral home recently. “Instead of talking with us, the Quippo management first took the help of armed said over telephone in a live show.

“When these companies have no issues extending financial support to some so-called organisation mushrooming on the basis of religion, why do they have reservation towards us? We are aware of how much these companies pay whom,” Baruah said.

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The two employees of the oil company – Ram Kumar and Pranab Kr Gogoi – have been in ULFA (I) and NSCN since December 21 last year. The rebel outfits have been reportedly demanding a ransom of Rs 20 crore as their “share” for exploration off resources in north eastern India. While Kumar hails from Bihar, Gogoi is from Sivasagar.

Claiming that talks have failed, the ULFA (I) yesterday issued a media statement that the two employees would be executed next week.

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