Saturday, December 2, 2023

Centre holds talks with ULFA


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From Our Correspondent

 Guwahati: The Government of India on Friday held another round of talks with the leaders of United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), pro-talks faction, in New Delhi to find a permanent solution to the three-decades- old insurgency problem in Assam.

Senior Central government officials led by Union Home Secretary R K Singh held the dialogue with the six-member delegation of the ULFA, led by its ‘chairman’ Arabinda Rajkhowa, and discussed the outfit’s ‘charter of demands’.

“The meeting with ULFA leaders was fruitful. We discussed the 12-point charter of demands,” an official source informed from New Delhi. The meeting was attended by representatives of Assam government and the Centre’s peace interlocutor for Assam and former IB chief P C Halder.

During the two-hour-long talks, both sides discussed observance of ground rules for ceasefire earlier signed by both sides, surrender of arms and ammunition by the ULFA cadres in truce and total halt of operations by security forces against the pro-talk faction, sources said.

ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa claimed that the ULFA delegation raised the issue of illegal immigration plaguing Assam, Constitutional safeguard to the indigenous people of Assam who are facing identity crisis due to unabated illegal migration from Bangladesh and permanent solution to the flood problem.

In the ‘charter of demands’ submitted to the Centre, the ULFA has sought amendment to the Constitution for finding “meaningful” ways to protect the rights and identity of the indigenous people of Assam.

The ULFA delegation also requested for the Central government’s help to bring back its ‘general secretary’ Anup Chetia, who is now lodged in a jail in Dhaka. They also sought the Centre’s nod to travel to Bangladesh to meet the jailed colleague.

The ULFA pro-talks faction signed the Suspension of Operation pact with the government on September 3, 2011. However, the major hiccup for the current peace with the ULFA has been absence of its fugitive ‘commander-in-chief’ Paresh Baruah who is opposed to any dialogue with the government unless the outfit’s demand for ‘sovereignty’ is not discussed.

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