In a first such instance, the banned United Liberation Front of Assam -Independent (Ulfa-I) leaked a video on Monday where an abducted youth is seen appealing for his release.
Kuldeep Moran, son of Tinsukia district panchayat vice-president Ratneshwar Moran, was abducted by suspected Ulfa-I militants from Arunachal Pradesh on August 1.
“I have been abducted by Ulfa-I and they are taking me to different places blindfolded,” said the youth who is seen wearing a green T-shirt and kneeling down in the video.
Kuldeep was surrounded by five masked men carrying assault rifles. The video appears to have been shot inside a forest.
“I have become very weak and my health has also deteriorated. I am afraid I might die in cross-firing.”
Abductions for ransom by militant groups in the northeast are common, but this is the first time Ulfa-I has released a video featuring an abducted person.
A day after his abduction Kuldeep’s father received a call from someone claiming to be from Ulfa-I.
The caller sought Rs one crore, to be arranged from BJP MLA Bolin Chetia from Sadiya in upper Assam for Kuldeep’s release. The rebel group also emailed a statement to media houses seeking the ransom.
The rebels claimed that Kuldeep was indulging in extortion in the name of the Ulfa-I.
“I request my parents, Bolin Chetia and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to get me released,” Kuldeep said in the video.
Assam DGP Mukesh Sahay told Hindustan Times there was delay in launching operations to rescue the youth as the incident happened in Arunachal Pradesh and came to light a few days later.
“As per our reports, he is safe. We are in touch with intelligence agencies, Arunachal Pradesh police and other agencies to ensure release of the youth,” said Sahay.
Ulfa-I, which has bases in Myanmar, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland, had carried out an attack on Hindi-speaking people ahead of Independence Day celebrations this month, killing two and injuring seven others.