GUWAHATI: The son of an Assam BJP leader abducted by the Paresh Baruah faction of insurgent group United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) was released on Monday.
His safe release brought relief not only to his family but also the security forces which had launched a massive operation to trace and rescue him.
Arunav Phukon was abducted by a group of ULFA rebels on December 15 from Khandu Basti in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh. His father, Dilip Phukon, is a businessman and a BJP leader from eastern Assam’s Jagun in Tinsukia district bordering Arunachal.
Phukon himself broke the news of his release by calling his mother on the phone. He said he was released somewhere under Joyrampur police station of Changlang district.
“They had subjected me to interrogation. Otherwise, I faced no problem during captivity,” Arunav said.
“I thank God and ULFA that my son has been freed,” the father told reporters. He denied Arunav was released following payment of ransom to the outfit by the family.
The ULFA “commander-in-chief” Paresh Baruah said Arunav was released as he was found to be innocent.
“There were charges of espionage against him and as such, we took him into custody. However, during interrogation, it emerged that he was innocent. So, we released him unharmed. He is like my dear son,” Baruah said. He too denied money changed hands in the release of the youth.
Last week, the ULFA itself had called up Arunav’s family to inform of his abduction, sending the police and security forces in Assam and Arunachal into a tizzy.
The ULFA and two insurgent outfits from Nagaland are active in Changlang besides Tirap and Longding districts of Arunachal. They use some routes there to sneak in and out of Myanmar where they have their camps.