Ram Kumar and PK Gogoi were employees of the private oil company who were abducted in remote Changlang Credit: File image

Tinsukia: The United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA-I) on Friday has announced that they will execute the abducted employees of Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Limited after talks with the oil drilling company failed.

The statement came three days after the February 16 deadline set by ULFA (I) expired.

In a press statement, the banned outfit said, “the NSCN and ULFA (I) informs the people of Assam, government and administration of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, and the two families of Quippo employees that talks between the outfit and company that went on from February 16 to 19 have failed. Hence, in the coming week, we shall act on Ram Kumar and Pranab Kumar Gogoi as per our earlier resolution.”

According to an official of the Arunachal Police, who is directly involved in the investigation, operations to locate the two are underway near the Indo-Myanmar border. The police suspect that the militants may have taken the duo across the border.

Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure operates a few rigs in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
According to a senior executive of the oil company, the incident happened at about 6.40 pm on December 21, in Innao in remote Changlang district when a group of about 16 armed men dressed in army fatigues and carrying assault rifles arrived at the rig operated by the private company.

According to a source in the company, Paresh Barua has been in touch for the last week. “Today’s letter came as a shock to us,” the source said. The last conversation between ULFA (I) and the company happened earlier today, where the company said it was open to negotiations but would not be able the demands of the militant outfit.

On January 27, ULFA (I) had set a deadline of February 16 to secure the release of Pranab Kumar Gogoi, a resident of Sivasagar district of Assam working as a drilling superintendent with Quippo, and Ram Kumar, a resident of Khagaria district in Bihar working as a radio operator.

“We have not received any help from the government or the company. I met the chief minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal, a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Sivasagar and finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma but in vain,” wife of Pranab Kumar Gogoi lamented.

She said they had no updates on the talks and begged ULFA (I) to release them.

“Every time I call, the answer is the same….that they are trying. We have not received any help from the government either,” the wife of Ram Kumar told EastMojo.

She was sobbing over the phone.

Just four days before the deadline, the mother, daughter and sister of Pranab Kumar Gogoi and father and father-in-law of Ram Kumar met ULFA (I) supremo Paresh Baruah’s elder brother Bimal Baruah at his residence at Jeraigaon in Chabua.

They pleaded with Baruah to help them in securing their release. They also urged the ULFA (I) supremo to look at their children’s faces and release the abducted employees on humanitarian grounds.

However, ULFA (I), through their release, announced they would stick with the decision.

“The company will not be allowed to operate in Assam and South East Asia. 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,” ULFA (I) reiterated.

Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma urged Paresh Barua to release the duo. He said if something unfortunate were to happen, then the Assamese community would be compared to the Talibans.

“We politely request Paresh Barua to release the two …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 Taliban, therefore, I urge him to release them,” said Sarma.

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