The family members of abducted ONGC employee Ritul Saikia on Wednesday urged new Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to take steps to secure safe release of Ritul.

Ritul Saikia, who was released by ULFA(I) cadres along with two other ONGC employees on April 21, 2021, has remained traceless for the last 22 days.

“We have appealed to the newly elected chief minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma to take necessary step for release of Ritul. We don’t know where he is. If he is in the captivity of ULFA(I), then the government should take steps to release him,” said a family member.

Three ONGC employees, including Ritul Saikia, were abducted by ULFA(I) cadres from Romanian work-over rig of ONGC at Lakwa  under Sivasagar district of upper Assam.

Security forces rescued two of the ONGC employees from Mon district of Nagaland but could not find Ritul Saikia.

Two of the three abductees, who were rescued by Nagaland Police and Army personnel, are Mohini Mohan Gogoi and Alakesh Saikia.

On Wednesday, Titabor MLA Bhaskar Jyoti Baruah and Mariani MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi visited Ritul Saikia’s residence at Titabor and met his family members.

“We will soon meet chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and discuss with him regarding the release of Ritul Saikia, if he is in the captivity of ULFA(I),” the MLAs said.

They also urged ULFA(I) commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah to release Ritul Saikia if he is under their custody.

A surrendered ULFA(I) cadre claimed that ONGC employee Ritul Saikia is with the militant outfit.

The surrendered ULFA(I), whose name has not been disclosed by the security forces, made this claim after laying down arms.

Security forces have launched massive counter-insurgency operations along the Assam-Nagaland border in search of Ritul Saikia.

ULFA(I) has not issued any statement regarding the status of Ritul Saikia or whether he is in their custody.

Assam’s newly-appointed chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has appealed to the ULFA(I) to shun violence and join the peace process.

The ULFA(I) earlier claimed they had left all the three abducted ONGC employees in a village in Nagaland’s Mon district.

Avik Chakraborty

Avik Chakraborty is Northeast Now Correspondent in Dibrugarh. He can be reached at: babs8oct@gmail.com