Updated: April 21, 2021 7:31:04 pm
Three employees of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) were allegedly abducted in the early hours of Wednesday from a rig site in Lakuwa field of Assam’s Sivasagar district, the company said. Authorities suspect that the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) (ULFA-I) is behind the abduction.
The three employees have been identified as Mohini Mohan Gogoi from Sivasagar district, and Alakesh Saikia and Retul Saikia from Jorhat district. While Mohini (32) and Alakesh (28) are both junior technicians, Retul, 38, is a junior engineering assistant. All three work in the production department and stay at the ONGC Colony in Sivasagar.
In a series of tweets, ONGC said that the employees were taken by “unknown armed miscreants” in a vehicle belonging to ONGC, which was later found abandoned near the Nimonagarh jungles, close to the Assam-Nagaland border.
3 ONGC employees, 2 Junior Engineer Assistants (Production) & a Junior Technician (Production) have been abducted by unknown armed miscreants in the early hours of 21 April 2021. The abduction took place on a rig site of ONGC in Lakwa field of Sivasagar District.
— ONGC (@ONGC_) April 21, 2021
An ONGC spokesperson said that the incident took place at around 1 am, Wednesday. He said, “About 4-5 armed abductors used one of our ambulances — which was stationed at the site – to kidnap them.” He added that it happened at the Romonia rig located adjacent to Lakuwa tea estate, under Simalguri police station.
According to Sivasagar SP Amitava Sinha, the manner in which the abduction was done makes it seem like it was the “handiwork of the ULFA-I.” “It has to be some militant group. We are suspecting ULFA because that is the only militant group active in this area,” said SP Sinha.
“We found out about it this morning on TV news,” said Anurag Saikia, Alakesh’s brother, “My mother is very worried and our only request as a family is that three of them are released as soon as possible. My brother is very young. He just joined ONGC in August last year…what will they achieve from kidnapping him? We are only simple people.”
Meenu Gogoi, Mohini’s mother said that she last spoke to her on Tuesday afternoon. “There was a wedding today and he was supposed to come home,” she said, “But in the morning my daughter-in-law called me to say he had been kidnapped. What can I say? How will a mother feel when her only son is taken away? I haven’t eaten all day. I request them to release him at the earliest.”
SP Sinha said that they have asked for the security agencies in Nagaland to be on alert. “Nagaland is very close to the actual location of the incident — the vehicle was found abandoned near the Nagaland border. So, police in Nagaland’s Mon district has also been activated,” he added.
In December last year, ULFA(I) and Myanmar-faction of NSCN (K) had abducted two employees of the Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Limited from Kumchaikha hydrocarbon drilling site near Innao in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh. They were released earlier this month.
ONGC is India’s biggest oil and gas exploration and production company. The company has been exploring and producing oil and gas in Upper Assam since the early 1960s.
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