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Abducted FCI official killed

PREY TO BULLETS: The bodies of two persons, killed in a gunbattle between two ULFA militants and security forces, lying in a house at Borka village in Kamrup district of Assam on Thursday. The one on the right is suspected to be that of Executive Director of FCI P.C. Ram.

PREY TO BULLETS: The bodies of two persons, killed in a gunbattle between two ULFA militants and security forces, lying in a house at Borka village in Kamrup district of Assam on Thursday. The one on the right is suspected to be that of Executive Director of FCI P.C. Ram.   | Photo Credit: — PHOTO: RITU RAJ KONWAR

Sushanta Talukdar

ULFA, security forces trade fire; body identified by his son

Guwahati: Abducted Food Corporation of India (FCI) official P.C. Ram was killed in a gunbattle between security forces and members of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) at Borka Panitema village in Kamrup district of Assam from late Wednesday night to Thursday noon. Two ULFA men were also killed.

At the end of the gunfight, the security personnel recovered three bullet riddled bodies, including that of the abducted FCI official.

The body of Dr. Ram was identified by his son, Pravin Ram, who arrived here from Ghaziabad on Thursday night.

Dr. Ram, Executive Director (Northeast) of FCI, and his driver were abducted by the ULFA on April 17.

Inspector General of Police (Special Branch) Khagen Sharma said a joint team of the police and the CRPF was fired upon by ULFA men from a house.

The exchange of fire, which started around 9 p.m. on Wednesday, continued till Thursday noon.

House owner Govinda Deka and his family members escaped unhurt.

Two AK-56 assault rifles, a pistol, a grenade, an improvised explosive device and ammunition were recovered from the encounter site.

Mr. Deka told reporters that the militants, who had Dr. Ram in their custody, came to his house and took shelter at gunpoint on Tuesday night.

They asked the family to shift to a nearby house and not venture out.

On Wednesday, around 8:40 p.m., the house was surrounded by the security forces and soon the family heard firing. On June 30, a decomposed body, believed to be that of Ram, was found in Anandapur village in lower Assam’s Baksda district.

On July 1, it was flown to Delhi for cremation after being identified by his former housemaid, June Murmu, and later by Mr. Pravin Ram and senior FCI officials.

On July 5, a caller, identifying himself as Hira Sarania, self-styled commander of the ULFA’s “709 Battalion,” called up some local newspapers and said Dr. Ram was still alive and he was in their custody.

The ULFA leader said the body recovered by police at Anandapur was that of an intelligence agent, whom the outfit had punished.

He said the ULFA would not release Dr. Ram till its arrested leaders, Pallab Saikia and Mrinal Hazarika, were released.

Assam Chief Secretary P.C. Sarma told reporters here that the security forces had no knowledge of Dr. Ram’s presence in the village.

They went there following a tip about presence of some militants.

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