Tezpur: After being in judicial custody since 2003, ULFA ideologue and `political advisor` Bhimkanta Buragohain was on Friday granted bail by a district court, a step
seen as another effort to broker peace with the group fighting for a `sovereign` state.
Sonitpur District and Sessions Court Judge Dinesh Chandra Choudhury granted bail to Burgohain, known as `mama` (uncle) to the cadres, against two sureties of Rs 25,000 each.
Buragohain was in judicial custody since December 2003 under the Unlawful Arms Act.
The ULFA leader`s bail petition was filed by his nephew Chandan Buragohain but was verbally opposed by the government pleader yesterday and the judge had posted the
case for hearing on Friday.
However, government counsels Khemraj Adhikari and D C Bora gave in writing on Friday that they had no objection to the bail plea. Buragohain was apprehended by Royal Bhutan Army during operations in that country against northeast militants and handed over to Indian security forces on December 15, 2003.
He was shifted to Guwahati Central Jail early this year following the arrest in Bangladesh of several ULFA leaders, including `chairman` Arabinda Rajkhowa, to allow the top leadership meet and discuss about the talks process.
Buragohain is, however, likely to be released after the Puja vacations as the weekend begins tomorrow and court employees are going on a strike from Monday following which the vacations would begin. Earlier, ULFA `vice-chairman` Pradip Gogoi and
`central publicity secretary` Mithinga Daimary were released in the same manner with the government not opposing their bail to facilitate talks process.
ULFA `deputy commander-in-chief` Raju Barua has also applied for bail. The Centre as well as the Assam government have given indications that they are ready to begin talks with the ULFA. A number of leaders of the group have also expressed their willingness for talks.