GUWAHATI: Insurgent group United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA- Independent) has released an abducted tea garden employee days after his family offered a puja to a portrait of the outfit’s military chief Paresh Baruah to appease him.
Dinanath Upadhyaya was released in Arunachal Pradesh on Monday evening and handed over to the Lungvi Basti chief in Changlang district bordering Myanmar. Later, on being informed by Arunachal Police, he was brought to Tinsukia district by a team of Assam Police.
About a fortnight ago, two gun-toting and motorcycle-borne rebels had abducted Upadhyaya from the tea garden at Phaneng in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district. Later, the outfit had reportedly demanded a ransom of Rs.3.5 crore from the garden’s owner Radha Chetia.
The police said they were trying to find out if ransom was paid to secure Upadhyaya’s release. The victim said he had no idea if the amount was paid to the outfit.
“I had not faced any difficulties during captivity. I was fed well. They gave me to eat whatever I had asked for. Following my abduction, I was taken from one place to another on foot…Yesterday (Monday), a five-member group of the rebels brought me to a village, which I later came to know was in Arunachal, and handed me over to the chieftain. I am very happy to be back with my family members. I thank the ULFA and Paresh Baruah for releasing me unharmed,” Upadhyaya told reporters on Tuesday.
Earlier as the ULFA had set June 19 as the deadline for payment of ransom, the family members of Upadhyaya had offered a puja to a portrait of the ULFA’s military chief Baruah in the house by following all religious rituals.
“As my father was in their captivity, we thought he (Baruah) was our God. So, we worshipped him. I am happy and thankful to them for releasing him unharmed,” Upadhyaya’s son said.
In the aftermath of the abduction, various organisations had appealed to the insurgent group seeking his release.