Dimapur, April 24: Mon deputy commissioner Thavaseelan K refuted ULFA (I) claim that it had left the three abducted ONGC employees among the people of Totokchingnyu village under Nagaland’s Mon district.
Talking to this correspondent over phone on Saturday, Thavaseelan said that two of the three abducted ONGC employees were found on the “other side of the road” in Totokchingnyu village after a combing operation at around 2 am on Saturday and not in the village. He reasoned that if they were left in the village among the people, no firing would have taken place.
“If there was an exchange of gun fire in the village, so many people would have been injured or died,” he stated while dubbing the ULFA (I) claim as ‘not true’.
Thavaseelan said a combing operation by the security forces was still on to find out the third abducted person.
The ULFA (I) said the third employee may have been killed either in army firing or the army and police are ‘hiding’ him.
The ULFA (I) kidnapped the three ONGC employees from its Lakwa oilfield in Assam’s Sivasagar district on the night of April 20.
The ULFA (I) in a statement on Saturday said: “On April 20, 2021 night, the ULFA(I) and NSCN had taken three ONGC officials – Mohini Mohan Gogoi, Alakesh Saikia and Ritul Saikia – in their custody. After that, encounters took place from 10 at night to 2.30 am last night between ULFA and more than 500 armed forces personnel led by Indian Army’s 73rd Brigade, 35 Assam Rifles and Nagaland Police in effort by ONGC to get them released.”
“As a result, our cadres, keeping in view of the safety of the lives of the three ONGC officials, left them in a health status among the people of Totokchingnyu village under Nagaland’s Mon district and proceeded towards our destination,” the ULFA (I) statement issued by publicity wing member Captain Rumel Asom said.
“Even after being aware of the facts, in order to downplay the image of ULFA (I) in the eyes of the public, the joint armed forces opened fire in the area after some time,” the statement said.
“Although the armed forces and Nagaland Police rescued ONGC officials Mohini Mohan Gogoi and Alakesh Saikia as per media reports, the Indian Army has not revealed any information regarding Ritul Saikia,” the ULFA (I) said referring to media reports over the rescue of two ONGC employees.
“Therefore, we suspect that Ritul Saikia has either been killed in Indian Army firing or the Army-police are hiding him intentionally,” the ULFA (I) statement said.
The outfit held the ONGC responsible for the incident. “For this unfortunate incident, the ULFA (I) and NSCN are not responsible. We inform the ONGC authority that for the whole incident, the ONGC, an outsider multinational company, is responsible. So, the company should be prepared for serious consequences in future,” it said.