Centre ready for talks with ULFA (I) if it shuns arms: Himanta

Appeal to “remaining active” outfits in Assam, Manipur to join peace process

GUWAHATI: In the backdrop of the Bodo peace accord, the Assam government on Tuesday appealed to the “remaining active” militant outfits in the state and Manipur to lay down arms and join negotiations with the Centre for permanent peace in the Northeast.

Addressing the media here a day after inking of the “historic” tripartite memorandum of settlement by representatives of all Bodo organisations and groups, including the four factions of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), state Cabinet minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, “for the first time,” publicly appealed to the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA-Independent) “commander in chief”, Paresh Barua to join the peace process.

“Yesterday, Union home minister, Amit Shah had clearly stated that if ULFA (I) is willing to shun arms and join the mainstream, then the Centre is ready to equally reciprocate and engage in parleys for lasting peace in Assam,” Sarma said.

It may be mentioned that, in a major peace breakthrough, as many as 644 militants belonging to eight proscribed outfits of Assam, including NDFB and ULFA (I) laid down arms to join the mainstream at a surrender ceremony here last Thursday.

He further said that the signing of the Bodo peace accord and settlement of the Bru repatriation and rehabilitation issue have set the ball rolling for lasting peace in the Northeast.

“There are a few active militant outfits in Assam and Manipur that need to come over ground and join the peace process for lasting peace in the region. Also for permanent solution (in is still a militancy-infested region) it is imperative for all militant groups to come on board the negotiating table,” Sarma said.

The Assam government he said could play a positive role if the active outfits show urgency to shun the path of violence. “We sincerely appeal to the remaining militant outfits to join the peace process and also urge the people of Assam to appeal to ULFA (I) for the same,” he said.

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