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ULFA rejects appeal for talks
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, August 19
In response to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s renewed appeal to ULFA for direct talks with the Government of India, the insurgent group has ruled out talks unless its demand for “restoration of sovereignty of Assam” does not form the core of the agenda.

In the editorial of the latest issue of the outfit’s mouthpiece “Freedom”, that have been e-mailed to the media here, the group made it clear that direct talks with the government would not be possible unless there was scope for discussion on the issue.

ULFA said appeal for direct talks came from the government which desisted from making any reference to the core demand for “sovereignty for Assam and its people”.

The outfit further stated that Assam Chief Minister had failed to keep his government's commitment to release the five of its top central committee leaders, who were in jail.

It said the Government of India was yet to disclose the whereabouts of the ULFA leaders who had gone untraced in the wake of the Royal Bhutan Army’s December, 2003, operation that ensured demolition of the ULFA base in the Himalayan Kingdom.

The government last year made it clear that it would consider the release of the five senior ULFA leaders from jail provided the outfit sent a commitment in black and white to come over direct and unconditional talks with New Delhi.

The issue of the missing ULFA leaders is now sub judice. The government had already submitted information about those missing ULFA leaders in a 'sealed cover' before the Gauhati High Court.

Meanwhile, the Assam police has sought cooperation from the Meghalaya police and the Border Security Force (BSF) to prevent the banned ULFA from sneaking in explosives, switches of programmable timer devices and weapons to the state along the border with Bangladesh. The ULFA is known to use Meghalaya territory as a route to smuggle in arms and explosives from bordering Bangladesh.

Assam police DG R N Mathur told the media here that most explosives, PTD switches and weapons used by the ULFA militants were brought to the state through the neighbouring country.

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