Updated: May 16, 2021 8:41:25 am
The United Liberation Front of Asom — Independent (ULFA – I) on Saturday announced that it would halt all operations for next three months citing the Covid pandemic, a development coming close on the heels of two kidnappings by the banned outfit and a grenade blast in which two people were killed — the militant organisation is suspected to be behind the blast.
On Friday, two people were killed in a grenade blast in Digboi in Assam’s Tinsukia district on Friday. ULFA-I has denied any association with the blast through a media statement.
On Saturday, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma visited the blast site and the residence of one of the dead. Sarma told the press there that police have been directed to take strict action against the perpetrators while he announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia to families of both the victims.
In April, three employees of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) were kidnapped by ULFA-I from Assam’s Sivasagar district. Two of the three men have been rescued by security forces while the hunt is on for the third, Retul Saikia. In December last year, two employees of Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Limited, were kidnapped by ULFA-I and the NSCN from a drilling site in Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang district — both have been rescued.
In his first press conference as the chief minister, Sarma appealed to insurgents, including the chief of the ULFA-I, Paresh Baruah, to leave the path of violence. “Murders and kidnappings… they do not solve problems, but complicate matters,” Sarma had said.
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