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Assam minister urges ULFA-I to release 2 oil company staff

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Guwahati/Itanagar, Feb 19 (IANS) A senior Assam minister on Friday urged terror outfit ULFA-I to release the two hostages of a Delhi based private oil company — who were kidnapped in December last year — even as the police of both Assam and Arunachal Pradesh remained clueless over the fate of the duo.

Assam’s Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma requested the self-styled commander-in-chief of United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I), Paresh Barua, to “refrain from any action that may shame three crore people of Assam in the eyes of the world”.

“People of Assam had to be shameful earlier when ULFA killed Sanjoy Ghose and detonated a bomb at a school in Dhemaji (in eastern Assam). I appeal to Paresh Baruah not to trigger any more bloodshed. Assamese people felt disgraceful and shocked after those incidents. The two kidnapped people are innocent and ULFA-I must release them and for this, we would be grateful. I am requesting them with folded hands,” the senior BJP leader said while speaking at a television show.

Ghose, a rural development activist, was killed by ULFA in the river island of Majuli on the Brahmaputra river on July 4, 1997.

In 2004, an explosion was triggered by ULFA through a remote control device during the Independence Day celebrations on August 15 at a school in Dhemaji, which killed 18 people, mostly school children.

Meanwhile, ULFA-I in a statement on Friday threatened action against the two employees of a Delhi based private oil company, who were abducted from the drilling site in Innao area of Changlang district in Arunachal Pradesh on December 21 last year. The deadline set by terror outfit ULFA-I for the two hostages expired on February 17.

Delhi-based Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Ltd’s drilling superintendent Pranab Kumar Gogoi and radio operator Ram Kumar were abducted at gunpoint by ULFA-I, which demanded Rs 20 crore as ransom for their release.

Police officers in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh said that searches for the two captives are on but they are yet to get any clue about the whereabouts of Gogoi and Kumar.

The ULFA-I had earlier, through a media statement, warned that the Chief Ministers of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh would be responsible for any untoward fate of the two.

–IANS

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