New Delhi: Three Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) employees, including two Junior Engineer Assistants (Production) and a Junior Technician (Production), have been abducted by unknown armed miscreants in Assam on early Wednesday, the Maharatna oil company said in a tweet. The abduction took place at a rig site of ONGC in Lakwa field of Sivasagar district in Assam and the abductors used the ONGC operational vehicle to abduct the employees. A complaint in the matter has been lodged by ONGC with the local police.
"The abducted employees were taken by the miscreants in an operational vehicle belonging to ONGC. Later, the vehicle was found abandoned near the Nimonagarh jungles close to the Assam-Nagaland border. A complaint has been lodged by ONGC with the local police," said ONGC in a tweet on Wednesday.
According to preliminary reports, the police has said that the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (Ulfa (I)) is behind the abduction of the three ONGC employees. The police said that the employees were abducted by a group of four to five heavily armed militants at around 1.30 am. The abducted employees have been identified as Mohini Mohan Gogoi, Alakesh Saikia and Ritul Saikia, said sources.
In December 2020, Ulfa had abducted two employees of Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure from Changlang district in Arunachal Pradesh.
"Higher officials of the State Police are on the site. Local administration has been informed about the incident and ONGC is in constant touch with the higher authorities. ONGC has been exploring and producing oil and gas in Upper Assam since early 1960s," said ONGC.
The news of abduction of ONGC employees comes at a time when employees stationed in the North-East have been demanding that the management order their release from deputation in the North-East as they have completed their tenure. This was also one of the demands raised by ONGC employees who observed a day-long fast on April 20.
At ONGC, employees are compulsorily deputed to the North-East region for a period of three years. However, ONGC employees who were transferred to the North-East in 2017 and 2018 have been stuck in the region despite having completed their tenure because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions on movement that have been in place for most of the year in 2020 and in 2021 as a fresh surge is reported in infections. According to sources, militants generally target outsiders in the state for abduction and the recent incident has created a feeling of insecurity amidst ONGC employees who have been stationed in the North-East despite having completed their tenure.