ULFA to open unconditional talks from Feb 10
Guwahati: The outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) on Saturday said that the unconditional peace talks with the central government will begin on Feb 10, in a move that may bring the curtains down on more than three decades of insurgency in Assam.
"Formal peace talks with the government of India are expected to begin in New Delhi on Feb 10 with no conditions from either side. We expect a mutually acceptable solution to the long standing Assam-India conflict", according to ULFA ‘foreign secretary’ Sasha Choudhury.
This is the first formal ULFA statement regarding the holding of unconditional peace talks with the government. The ULFA leader refused to elaborate.
"We had taken the decision to open unconditional peace talks at our general council meeting," he said.
The talks, to be held in New Delhi, will be led by ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa. The government side could possibly be headed by Home Minister P. Chidambaram or Home Secretary G.K. Pillai.
Indian government peace interlocutor P.C. Haldar and Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi are expected to take part in the first round of the talks.
"We are communicating the decision of the general council meeting to our commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah and we are sure he would endorse our views. In fact, Paresh Baruah is bound to accept the general council decision", Choudhury said.
The ULFA leader, however, said vested interests were trying to scuttle the peace process. "We must be careful as vested interests were desperately trying to block the peace talks."
With assembly elections around the corner, there are fears that the ULFA could be used or support the ruling Congress party.
"Let us make it very clear that we shall have no role to play in the elections and we shall keep away from politics at this point in time," Choudhury said.
Barring the elusive commander-in-chief Pareh Baruah, almost all top ULFA leaders are out on bail, with the government facilitating their release from jails to pave the way for peace talks.
The leaders out on bail are Arabinda Rajkhowa, vice chairman Pradep Gogoi, deputy commander-in-chief Raju Baruah, Choudhury, finance secretary Chitraban Hazarika, cultural secretary Pranati Deka and octogenarian political ideologue Bhimkanta Buragohain.
Paresh Baruah is believed to be holed up somewhere along the China-Myanmar border and his stand on the peace talks is still unclear.
Download the all new Zee News app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with latest headlines and news stories in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Technology, Business and much more from India and around the world.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- I am surviving only on 25% of my liver today, says Big B
- Aamir Khan's 'intolerance' comment kicks up row
- Exclusive: Sudhir Chaudhary in conversation with Aamir Khan on intolerance in India!
- Panel discussion on Aamir Khan's remark on 'intolerance'
- Rahul Gandhi spotted with hate speech convict Imran Masood in Saharanpur
- Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh bypoll results: As it happened on November 24
- Intolerance issue: When did ‘Incredible India’ become ‘Intolerant India’, Anupam Kher asks Aamir Khan
- Tirupati, Tirumala rains update: Temple remains open; pilgrims continue to pour in for darshan
- BJP's big poser to Aamir Khan: Is there any better neighbour for Muslims than a Hindu?
- Muslim leader Asaduddin Owaisi says Aamir Khan wrong in wanting to leave India