The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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After son, govt looks to Delhi
- Dispur to go by book in Ram’s case

Guwahati, July 8: Dispur will go by the book and consult the Centre before taking any stand on the “release jailed Ulfa members” clamour raised by P.C. Ram’s son.

Dispur’s statement comes a day after Pravin, son of the abducted Food Corporation of India (FCI) chief, said he was “101 per cent sure” that the “voice” he heard over the telephone at 4.15pm on Friday was that of his father.

He also urged Delhi to release two Ulfa leaders from jail, as demanded by the outfit and not lose this opportunity to save his father.

Dispur today treaded cautiously on the demand and put the onus on Delhi.

“There are set guidelines in matters relating to hostages, which are laid down by the Centre. So any decision will have to be in consultation with the Centre and in conformity with such guidelines and policies,” health minister and government spokesperson Himanta Biswa Sarma said today.

Revenue minister Bhumidhar Barman, on the other hand, hinted at a renewed investigation into the abduction case now that Ram was “alive”.

“Since the family is totally convinced that the voice was that of Ram, we will definitely have to take a fresh look at the case,” he said.

Barman is officiating as the chief minister in the absence of Tarun Gogoi, who is away in the US.

He said the police were closely monitoring the development and would take a concrete stand on whether to consider Ram as “dead or alive” only after seeing the results of the DNA test.

An Assam police team yesterday collected blood samples from Pravin and Ram’s elder brother, Ramjanam, for a DNA test to ascertain whether the body recovered from Baksa district on June 30 was that of Ram’s.

Nail and skin samples retained from the body confirmed as Ram’s by his son, his adopted daughter and FCI officials shortly after the mutilated remains were dug out have also been sent for a DNA test.

Barman had led the state to pay tribute to the “departed” FCI executive by laying a wreath on what was believed to be the mortal remains of Ram.

Ulfa, through one of its contact persons, had informed Barman, Sarma and a senior police official that very day that Ram was alive.

Claiming that Ram was safe in its custody, the outfit demanded the release of its two jailed leaders, Mrinal Hazarika and Pallav Saikia, in return for Ram’s safe release.

The turn of events has sent the government into a tizzy.

In private, ministers and government officials have been admitting that it would be a big embarrass-ment for the government if Ram was actually found to be alive.

Gogoi, who is on tour to America and England, has reportedly upset with the fiasco. He is returning to the state tomorrow.

“The chief minister is particularly annoyed with chief secretary P.C. Sarma and DGP R.N. Mathur for the successive blows meted out by Ulfa to the government,” said one of the ministers.

The state government has also been under pressure from Delhi, which had recently summoned both the chief secretary and the DGP for a briefing on the law and order on the state.

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