New Delhi: Believed to have led lavish
lives in their heydays, pro-talks ULFA leaders have now been
given Rs 40 lakh by the Centre for daily expenses and to run
The Home Ministry released the first instalment of
financial assistance to the ULFA leaders, including `chairman`
Arabinda Rajkhowa, `vice-president` Pradip Gogoi and others
besides its cadres -- totalling approximately 400.
"We have disbursed the money to the ULFA through the
Assam government. The money has been given to take care of the
daily expenses of ULFA members and other family requirements,"
a Home Ministry official said.
The Centre may release more funds to the banned group
in the coming days.
The ULFA was accused of extorting several hundred
crores of rupess in Assam to buy arms, ammunition and for
training its cadres. The group was also accused of running
many businesses in neighbouring Bangladesh.
The ULFA leaders, led by Rajkhowa, had met Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram in
January for the first time after their arrest along the
India-Bangladesh border in 2009, starting the peace
negotiations with the government.
The next peace dialogue between the government
representatives and the ULFA leaders is likely to be held in
June. The process has been delayed as the group is yet to
fulfill the Centre`s condition to deposit their weapons before
a substantial dialogue.
The weapons are believed to be in the possession of
two senior leaders of the ULFA but they are undecided on
whether the outfit wants to double-lock the arms, that is keep
it in joint custody with one set of keys remaining with the
government and the other with the militant group.
Double-locking is a standard practice of the
government with surrendered militant groups during negotiation
an exception being the NSCN-IM.
The firearms of the Naga National Council are under
lock and key at Chidema peace camp near Kohima since 1964.
More recently, the pro-talks NDFB double-locked its weapons.
The government put the same argument before ULFA as a
pre-requisite to a formal dialogue.
Meanwhile, the Centre and the Assam government have
agreed to allocate land to the group in Nalbari district to
set up a designated camp for the ULFA cadres.
Officials said it is here that the weapons may be