M A I N   N E W S

ULFA finally agrees to unconditional talks
Dialogue with Centre to begin in Delhi on Feb 10
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, February 5
After three decades of armed conflict that cost thousands of lives in Assam, the outlawed United Liberation Front of Assam( ULFA) has finally decided to sit for “unconditional” talks with the Government of India.

Leaders of the outfit today informed that ULFA had been invited by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram for a preliminary round of talks on February 10 in New Delhi as a prelude to formal negotiations that would materialise once ULFA submitted its charter of demands. The outfit would seek an appointment with the Prime Minister too.

“The central executive committee and general council earlier the week resolved to sit for unconditional talks with the government in tune with the wishes of the people of Assam,” announced Mithinga Daimary, central publicity secretary of the outfit.

“We have realised that given the (changed) political situation in the region and the world, doggedly sticking to the armed struggle could prove suicidal,” Daimary added.

With this ULFA has finally given up its earlier preconditions of, one, holding talks in a third country; two, including “sovereignty” as the core issue; three, of having a UN observer for the talks.

The ULFA foreign secretary, Sasadhar Choudhury, pointed out that preconditions set by both ULFA and the government had stood in the way of holding peace talks since 1992, the year ULFA leaders had met then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao only to renege on their promise to come forward for a dialogue on a later date.

On ULFA commander-in-chief Paresh Barua airing his opposition to dialogue, the outfit leaders today said he had done it before the general council of ULFA decided on unconditional talks. “The decision of the general council is binding on everyone. Anyone defying it, will face disciplinary action as per the provision of the ULFA’s constitution. Paresh Barua was invited to both the central executive committee and general council meeting, but he didn’t come. We have conveyed our decision for talks to him and are waiting for his response,” the ULFA leaders said. 




No split in outfit: Rajkhowa

Arabinda Rajkhowa
Arabinda Rajkhowa 

Guwahati: There was no split in the ULFA as its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and elusive commander-in- chief Paresh Baruah were in frequent contact with each other, the proscribed group said on Saturday. “There is no division in ULFA. Paresh is still our commander-in-chief,” ULFA vice-chairman Pradip Gogoi told reporters here. Supporting him, ULFA foreign secretary Sasadhar Choudhury said Rajkhowa was in touch with Baruah. When pointed out that Baruah recently sent a video to the media here reiterating ULFA's demand for sovereignty of Assam at a time when they were going for unconditional talks, he said: "The video was shot before the resolution was adopted for the peace talks." — PTI


Preconditions dropped

n Hold talks in a third country
n Include ‘sovereignty’ as core issue
n Have a UN observer for the talks

ULFA was born in 1979

This separatist group from Assam was banned by the Government of India in 1990. The group aimed to establish a sovereign Assam via an armed struggle.

The outfit claims to have been founded on April 7, 1979.

It initiated major violent activities in 1990. Military operations against it by the Army began in 1990.

In the past two decades, some 10,000 people have died in clashes between the rebels and the govt.

In December 2009, the chairman and the deputy commander-in-chief of ULFA were arrested.

There has recently been a large ULFA crackdown in Bangladesh, which significantly assisted India.

In January 2010, ULFA softened its stand and dropped the demand for independence as a condition for talks





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