ULFA (I) gives February 16 deadline for release of abducted Bihar worker; says "necessary action" will be taken after that

The deadline will not be extended beyond February 17, it said
Last Updated 27 January 2021, 09:30 IST

The United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) on Wednesday set February 16 as the deadline for the release of Ram Kumar, a worker from Bihar who was abducted by them on December 22.

A statement issued by Rumel Asom, a member of the banned militant group's publicity wing, asked Quippp Oil and Gas Infrastructure Limited, the drilling company for which Kumar works, to "sort out the issues" by February 16, failing which "necessary action" will be taken against him on February 17.

"The deadline will not be extended beyond February 17," it said.

The statment further said the company had initiated no step for the release of the two abducted persons, Pranab Kumar Gogoi and Ram Kumar.

"Instead, the security forces have stepped up operation against us," it added.

The two employees of the drilling company were abducted at gunpoint by ULFA (I) and NSCN members on December 22 from their work site under the Dyung police station in the militancy-affected Changlang district in Arunachal Pradesh. While Gogoi is a drilling superintendent, Kumar, a resident of Bahadurpur in Bihar's Khagaria district, is a radio operator in the company.

Paresh Baruah, "Commander-in-Chief" of the ULF(I), had earlier told news channels in Guwahati, "These companies are exploiting our natural resources and they have to listen to us. If they fail to stop exploitation, they will have to face the consequences."

Police officials had said that the outfits had demanded Rs 20 crore from the company for the workers' release.

On January 20, ULFA (I) released two videos in which both Kumar and Gogoi had urged Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his Assam counterpart Sarbananda Sonowal respectively to take steps for their release.

The outfit also said Kumar would be the "first victim" in case the company did not take step for their release.

(Published 27 January 2021, 09:30 IST)

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