Fate of abducted duo hangs in balance  

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Cong MP seeks HM’s intervention to ensure safe return of oil firm staff

GUWAHATI, Feb 21 (PTI): Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi on Sunday wrote to Union home minister Amit Shah seeking immediate action to ensure safe release of two oil sector employees from the clutches of militant outfit ULFA(I), as the fate of the duo hangs in balance.

Two employees of Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Ltd were abducted by the insurgents of United Liberation Front of Asom -Independent on December 21 last year from Kumchaikha hydrocarbon drilling site in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh.

The outfit had reportedly demanded a ransom of Rs 20 crore for the release of the two employees and had set February 16 as the deadline which was later extended, Gogoi mentioned in the letter.

The MP, however, did not mention the extended date.

Recently, the ULFA (I) has threatened to take an “ultimate step” against the two persons, the MP said in his letter.

The ULFA (I) in an email to PTI had said that talks with the Quippo authorities held from February 16 to 19 have “failed to reach any favourable conclusion and an ultimate step on the two will be taken next week”.

“Given the sensitive nature of the matter and the potential threat to the lives of the two persons, I urge you to take the matter into immediate consideration for appropriate action. The government should ensure safe return of the two employees. Eagerly looking forward to your response,” Gogoi said in his letter to Shah.

Senior minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma had urged ULFA (I)’s commander in chief Paresh Barua “with folded hands” to release the two men unharmed.

The two abducted men are drilling superintendent Pranab Kumar Gogoi and radio operator Ram Kumar. While Gogoi is from Assam’s Sivasagar district, Ram Kumar hails from Bihar.

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