Guwahati: With just a day left of the deadline given by the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) (ULFA-I) for the release of two Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Limited employees, distressed family members visited the house of ULFA (I) chief Paresh Baruah in Jeriagaon, Dibrugarh on Sunday.
The wife, daughter, and sister of employee Pranab Gogoi, along with the father and father-in-law of employee Ram Kumar begged for the safe return of the duo to Baruah’s elder brother Bimal Baruah.
Kneeling with tear-drenched eyes, the family members offered their respects to Bimal and urged him to help them. The family members of Kumar came from Bihar to Dibrugarh for this occasion.
“Through Bimal Baruah, I forward my utmost respects to Paresh Baruah for the safe return of my husband Pranab Gogoi and also Ram Kumar. Be it for the sake of humanity or just by looking at the faces of our kids, I beg for a speedy and safe return of both of them,” begged the teary-eyed wife of Gogoi.
Gogoi’s daughter too appealed for the safe return of her father. “No child can ever stay happy if their father is not around, and so I request the leaders of ULFA (I) to release my father and Ram Kumar uncle as well,” she said.
Ram Kumar’s father said, “My entire family is dying all while waiting for the safe return of my son. I beg and pray for my son to be returned safe and sound. Being from such a poor family, this is all I can do for now. My grandchild is suffering from blood cancer and his father’s (Ram Kumar) money was the only saving grace for his son.”
ULFA (I) had earlier set a deadline of February 16 for Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure to secure the release of their employees. Baruah, the outfit’s military chief, had reportedly asked the New Delhi-based oil and gas industry to pay ₹20 crore for Kumar’s release.
On January 12, the ULFA (I) supremo had admitted his outfit’s role in abducting the two employees. He informed a local channel in Assam that Kumar, who hails from Bihar, would be a victim if the company did not pay the outfit its share for extracting natural resources from Assam and Northeast region.
“If Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Limited fail to meet our demands, the company will not be allowed to operate in Assam and South East Asia,” the statement said.
“The outfit appeals to all indigenous persons and entrepreneurs associated with the oil drilling company to look for alternate means of earning bread and butter,” the statement added.
On December 21, armed militants kidnapped two employees of the private company from the drilling site of the Oil India Limited (OIL). While Gogoi worked as a drilling supervisor, Kumar worked as a radio operator for Quippo, the drilling operator for Oil India wells in the Innao area of Changlang district.