Lay down arms before Sept 15: Centre ultimatum to DHD
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 01, 2009, 21:27
New Delhi: The Centre on Tuesday gave an ultimatum to Assam-based militant group Dima Halam Daogah (DHD) to lay down arms before September 15, saying it will consider holding talks only after the surrender.

This was decided at a high-level meeting attended among others by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, National Security Adviser M K Narayanan, Army Chief Deepak Kapoor and IB director Rajiv Mathur.

"It was decided in the meeting that we will consider holding talks with the group if they surrender before September 15 with all their arms, stay in their designated camps, stop extortion of money and come for talks with their top leaders," Gogoi told reporters after the meeting.

He said government will not respond to the ceasefire call by the group and the operation against it will continue unless all its cadres surrender with their arms and ammunition.

"They are killing innocent people. It has to stop. Operation against them will continue till they surrender with their arms and ammunition," Gogoi said.

The DHD, involved in a spate of violent activities since 2008 in Cachar and Karbi Anglong districts, had offered unilateral ceasefire following arrest of several of its top leaders recently. Asked whether the Centre was also willing to hold talks with the ULFA, Gogoi said the government was ready for parleys with any militant group within the framework of the Constitution.

"We are ready to hold talks within the framework of the Constitution. We will hold talks only with their top leaders," he said, adding government will not bow to pressure from any group.

The DHD had made overtures to the state government for peace talks also.

The Assam government has been maintaining that the group must first lay down arms, shift the cadres to government-run designated camps and stop violent activities before holding peace talks.

A series of ethnic clashes and violent activity by the DHD have resulted in halting of work on two major national projects — construction of the last lap of the East-West Corridor and a broad gauge track between Lumding and Silchar.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, September 01, 2009, 21:27

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