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Where is ONGC Employee Ritul Saikia?

While two of his colleagues were rescued by security forces from Nagaland on April 24, but still there’s no trace of Ritul Saikia.
Ritul Saikia
File Photo

On April 21, ULFA-I abducted three ONGC employees from a work over rig site of ONGC inside the Lakwa tea estate. The militant group was helped by a few linkmen and a constable Basanta Buragohain from the 25th Assam Battalion, who was deployed for security at ONGC’s oil rig at Lakwa.

Later Assam police had arrested 14 linkmen and sympathizers of the United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent who were helping the banned outfit directly or indirectly, meanwhile Sadiya police arrested Constable Basanta Buragohain.

While two of his colleagues were rescued by security forces from Nagaland on April 24, but still there’s no trace of Ritul Saikia.

Now the biggest question arise is where is the third abducted, Ritul Saikia an ONGC employee who got kidnapped recently from a work over rig site of ONGC inside the Lakwa tea estate.

A statement by ULFA-I says that keeping the safety of the three employees in mind, ULFA-I cadres released them at Tokko Singkhu village of Mon in Nagaland in a healthy condition and proceeded to their destination. They alleged that though the security forces were aware of it, they resorted to firing at the spot moments after ULFA-I cadres left the area.

“News reports say that two officials, Mohini Mohan Gogoi and Alakesh Saikia, were rescued from the village by Nagaland Police. But Indian Army has not released any information on Ritul Saikia. That’s why we suspect that Ritul Sakia may have been killed in firing by the Indian Army or army-police may have kept him hidden,” the ULFA-I statement says.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday ADGP (Law & Order), GP Singh confirmed that the abducted ONGC employee Ritul Saikia is under the custody of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA-I).

He also said that Saikia is under ULFA’s custody at Mon district in Nagaland. The rescue operation is underway by the Assam Rifles, Army and police. Police have also requested ULFA to release Ritul Saikia soon.

Talking to Headline 8, Sources said, “Assam Police team and Indian Army are still in process of Operations to rescue Saikia. We’re trying our best to find out him.  As of now to speak something on this matter will be very much sensitive, what I can speak is we are on to find the victim and all the culprits. Interrogation is on with all the arrested culprits.”

On Thursday DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta addressing the press said, “In connection with the abduction of 3 ONGC employees from Lakwa on 21.04.2021, three persons have been arrested so far who are found to be directly involved in the case in addition to some others linked with the banned organization.  Investigation indicates involvement of only 1 police personnel so far but anyone found directly or indirectly involved in this case will be seriously dealt with as per law. All relevant facts are bound to come out on debriefing of the apprehended Basanta Buragohain.”

Assam Police will spare no culprit involved in this case. Meanwhile effort to trace out and rescue the third victim from Ulfa custody is still going on.

Now with contradictory statements from both sides, the main question arises is where actually is Ritul Saikia? Do the ULFA-I still have him with them? If not, who is accountable for the current scenario?

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Written by Pallavi Saikia

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