Guwahati: Denouncing repeated intimidating statements by separatist armed militant outfit United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent) against two city-based scribes, an Assam based forum of journalists urged the State police to take the matter seriously. Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA), in a media statement, also appealed to the journalist fraternity to get united against the diktats. It may be mentioned that the banned Ulfa (Independent) had lately issued three statements within 24 hours asking two scribes associated with digital news outlet (www.time8.in) to tender apology for their aggressive’ remarks during a brief discussion regarding the probable release of two abducted individuals by the outfit. Both the abducted engineers of Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Limited namely Pranab Kumar Gogoi (hails from Sivasagar in Assam) and Ram Kumar (hails from Khagaria in Bihar) were expected to be released on 4 March 2021 by the outfit after negotiations with the company officials. Both of them were kidnapped from Dayun Khumsai drilling area of Arunachal Pradesh on 21 December. In its first statement, signed by Ulfa (I) leader K Rumel Asom, the outfit expressed anger against both the scribes for ‘unpleasant’ comments on the rebels. It also asked them to seek apology for the same and until then the outfit decided to suspend the release of Gogoi and Kumar. Accordingly, both the scribes tendered apologies separately. The second statement, sent swiftly after their apologies, targeted one scribe indicating that his ‘body language’ was not acceptable to the militants. So the second apology was furnished with an appeal to release the abducted Quippo employees. Amazingly, the third statement surfaced quickly with the outfit’s displeasure on the ‘words of apology’. The JFA expressed dismay over the development and requested the militant outfit to clarify the present status of Gogoi and Kumar (who are still under its custody) so that the people of Assam can be convinced about their safety as the outfit shockingly tried to blame the scribes for the fate of abducted Quippo employees. “We also urge the State police to probe the matter seriously and unearth if there was any instigating (which was seemingly very prompt) input to the militant outfit over the issue,” said JFA president Rupam Barua adding that fixing a target for the armed rebels (by anyone) should be identified a serious offence under the law.
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