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Oil firm staff urge Assam, Bihar CMs to secure release of abducted employees

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Guwahati/Itanagar, Jan 21 (IANS) The staff of a private gas and oil drilling company have appealed to the Chief Ministers of Assam and Bihar to secure the release from captivity of two employees of the firm who were kidnapped by militants in Arunachal Pradesh a month ago, police officials said on Thursday.

Arunachal Pradesh Police chief R.P. Upadhyaya told IANS over phone from Itanagar that the militants had earlier demanded Rs 20 crore to release the two employees of the company. The security forces of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh are searching for the hostages who were abducted by the United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) on December 21 from the company’s drilling site at Diyun in southern Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang district, bordering Myanmar and Assam.

Pranab Kumar Gogoi, a drilling superintendent and Ram Kumar, a radio operator of Delhi-based Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Limited, were kidnapped at gunpoint by insurgents of ULFA-I, which is currently headed by Paresh Barua.

Gogoi is a resident of Sivasagar district in Assam while Kumar hails from Khagaria district in Bihar.

According to the police, in a video reportedly released by the ULFA-I on Wednesday, Gogoi and Ram Kumar are heard saying that they are now in the captivity of the ULFA-I and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) and they urged Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to get them released.

Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Limited, which is working in oil and gas drilling in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, also reportedly urged the authorities to rescue their employees. The ULFA-I, which was banned by the government in 1990, has been demanding an independent state of Assam while the NSCN (IM) has held several rounds of negotiations with the central government and even outside India after signing a ceasefire pact in August 1997.

–IANS

sc/kr

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