ONGC official Ritul Saikia is in Assam Police's custody and is likely to reach home this evening, exactly a month after he was abducted by the banned militant group Ulfa (I).
Sources said he reached Longwa in Nagaland’s Mon district near the Indo-Myanmar border at 7 am today. A source quoted Saikia as saying that he was doing fine but was "exhausted" after his long trek post release.
He is expected to reunite with his family in Assam's Jorhat district by today evening.
Celebrations erupted at Saikia’s house as soon as his family received the news of his return.
Earlier today, local television channels showed Saikia speaking to his mother via a cell phone. “I am alright, I will see you all soon,” he was heard saying. Videos of his mother receiving the call were also broadcast. “Please come quickly,” she was heard saying as she broke down.
Neighbours were also seen thronging Saikia’s house to celebrate his imminent return.
“I can’t wait to see him…it has been a long wait”, his wife said to a local news channel while holding her three-month-old in her arms.
She further expressed gratitude to Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma as well as Ulfa (I) army commander Paresh Barua for his husband’s release.
Sarma had been appealing to the militant outfit to release Saikia and on Thursday Barua has said that Saikia would be home in four days.
Responding to Saikia’s release, Sarma tweeted, “Heartily welcome release of Ritul Saikia, ONGC employee abducted by ULFA, early today! Grateful to Honble UHM @AmitShah for constant guidance. Hope an era of peace & development is firmly established in state with cooperation of one and all. Pray to Almighty for His Blessings.”
Heartily welcome release of Ritul Saikia, ONGC employee abducted by ULFA, early today! Grateful to Honble UHM @AmitShah for constant guidance.— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) May 22, 2021
Hope an era of peace & development is firmly established in state with cooperation of one and all. Pray to Almighty for His Blessings pic.twitter.com/9kjuVTNKhb
Saikia was abducted on April 21 from Lakwa in Charaideo district with two others. While they were rescued by security forces following an encounter in Mon district of Nagaland on April 24, Saikia went missing till the proscribed outfit admitted, after initially denying, he was with them in Myanmar.