Army, police launch joint search operation to rescue Assam tea executive suspected to be abducted by ULFA (I)
The Army and police have launched a joint search operation to rescue a tea garden executive abducted from Tinsukia district in upper Assam by suspected United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent) rebels on Friday evening.
Gauranga Deb, who worked as a head fitter in Sankar Tea Estate in Talap area in Tinsukia district, around 35 km from the district headquarters, was abducted by a group of four youths.
While no ransom call has been received yet, police suspect the abduction is likely to be the handiwork of ULFA (I), the banned anti-talks factions of the rebel outfit which has strong presence in the area.
“We are carrying out massive search operations along with the Army all over Tinsukia and neighbouring areas of Arunachal Pradesh in a bid to rescue the executive,” informed Tinsukia superintendent of police Shiladitya Chetia.
Eyewitnesses told police that four youths wearing what appeared to be a uniform similar to those worn by security forces arrived at the tea estate on Friday evening and abducted Deb.
“CCTV camera footing of the spot shows the youths were carrying assault rifles. Our main focus now is to secure the release of the executive. Hopefully, we will get some positive news soon,” said Chetia.
Upset by the abduction, workers of Sankar Tea Estate gathered at the garden early on Saturday demanding improved security measures and early and safe release of the abducted executive.
While abductions of tea executives for ransom by ULFA were very common in the early 1990s, they are very rare these days.