ONGC employee is in ULFA (I) custody, admits Paresh Baruah
United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah has admitted that ONGC employee, Ritul Saikia, is in the militant outfit’s custody.
The revelation made before a section of the electronic media came hours after Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma informed reporters that Saikia was being held by the outfit at a location in Myanmar close to the country’s border with India.
Sarma had made the statement after paying a visit to the abducted ONGC employee’s residence at Titabor in Jorhat district on Tuesday morning.
Interacting with Saikia’s parents and wife, Sarma informed that all-out efforts have been made to ensure the abducted ONGC employee’s safe return.
Speaking to a city-based media channel over satellite phone, the ULFA-I chief, acknowledged the chief minister’s information as correct, saying, “Ritul Saikia is in our custody and he is hale and hearty. I would like to inform you through this channel that Ritul will return to his family soon if the pandemic doesn’t hinder the process.”
A junior engineer assistant, Saikia was one of three ONGC employees to have been abducted from a rig site of the oil company in Upper Assam’s Sivasagar district on April 21, 2021.
The other two employees were rescued by security forces three days after an operation in Nagaland, close to the India-Myanmar border.
ULFA (I) had recently placed seven demands before ONGC, one of which was job reservation for locals in the public sector undertaking.
The ULFA (I) chief exuded hope and positivity in the chief minister’s statement that there has been no objection by anyone so far to the militant outfit’s demands.
It may be mentioned that ULFA-I has declared a three-month unilateral ceasefire recently considering the critical COVID situation in the state.
Sarma had on Tuesday categorically stated that the government’s doors were open if ULFA-I desired to join the peace process “by preparing the ground rules and honouring the limitations of all”.
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