Hostage’s wife, mother appeal to ULFA-I chief to release him

Family members of one of the two private oil company employees, kidnapped by the United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) from Arunachal Pradesh in December, on Tuesday appealed to the outlawed anti-talk outfit’s chief Paresh Barua to release him.

Delhi-based Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Ltd’s drilling superintendent Pranab Kumar Gogoi and radio operator Ram Kumar were abducted at gunpoint from the drilling site in Innao area of Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang district on December 21 last year.

Gogoi’s mother and wife, through a Guwahati-based television channel, ardently urged Barua to release him immediately.

“I request Paresh Barua to free my husband or kill us. Our parents are ill and the children are not eating food and not even going to schools since the abduction. I appealed to the Assam Government too to take proper steps for the release of my husband,” Gogoi’s weeping wife said in Assamese.

Gogoi’s mother, in a similar appeal through the TV channel, said: “I appeal to the ULFA chief to release our only son. He is the only earning member in our family. I also request the Assam Government to facilitate the release our son at the earliest.”

The ULFA-I, in a statement last month, said that it has set February 17 to decide the fate of the two employees and asked authorities to meet their demands before that.

Though the statement did not specify the demands but Arunachal Pradesh Police chief R.P. Upadhyaya had told IANS that the militants had demanded Rs 20 crore to release the two.

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.

“Instead of trying to get the two hostages released, the security forces, the central government’s intelligence agencies and others are continuing operations. In such a situation, if the two kidnapped officials die, the authorities would tactfully put the onus on the ULFA-I,” the statement had said.

In a video reportedly released by the ULFA-I, Gogoi, a resident of Assam’s Sivasagar district, and Ram Kumar, who hails from Bihar’s Khagaria district, are heard saying that they are now in the captivity of the ULFA-I and urged Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to get them released.