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New ray of hope for Karbis
Correspondent Diphu, Dec 18:
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Published on 18 Dec. 2009 11:48 PM IST
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After long hours of sleepless night and wile speculation about the peace initiative, the ray of hope is visible in the horizon for the KLNLF. The Unified Command engaged in the counter insurgency operation in Assam will meet on December 21 and will “seriously consider” reciprocating the unilateral ceasefire offer of the anti-talks Karbi radical unit. The Unified Command is a three-tier security structure which plans and executes counter-insurgency operations in Assam. The meeting assumes significance because this will be the first meeting of the group, headed by chief secretary P.C. Sharma, since the formal arrest of the top UlLFA duo on December 5. Highly placed sources said the KLNLF’s peaceful conduct has swayed Dispur to consider its offer for a dialogue to resolve their demands that included one for a separate homeland. “Backroom parleys are on between the outfit and sleuths of the special branch for giving up arms like DHD (J). The sleuths’ report will be discussed and debated at the command meeting. Based on the outcome, a recommendation will be made to Dispur which will, in consultation with the Centre, take the final call,” the source said. The KLNLF had been in on-and-off ceasefire with the government of India. It had declared a three-month “total” ceasefire in November after threatening to target Hindi-speaking people (and withdrawing the threat). It had also refrained from indulging in violence during the ongoing twin hill districts bandh in support of the statehood demand, besides not disrupting polling during the last Lok Sabha elections. On April 6, Dispur had indicated before the polls that the outfit was in peace mode and that a channel of dialogue had been opened with the group. The KLNLF, a splinter group of the UPDS, ULFA and the two NSCN factions, are among the groups active in Karbi Anglong. It is understood that P.C. Haldar, the Centre’s interlocutor for peace talks with both factions of the DHD, the pro-talks NDFB and the UPDS, has taken “stock” of the KLNLF’s position from the UPDS leaders and Dispur during his last visit to the state in the first week of December. Besides the KLNLF, the Unified Command will chalk out a strategy to ensure that ULFA does not strike following the arrest of four top leaders. The caution is understandable because chief minister Tarun Gogoi made it clear after his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and home minister P. Chidambaram this week that he was all for talks with ULFA if it abjured violence and dropped the demand for sovereignty. “Since the situation is fluid, the Unified Command, which has played a key role in sustaining pressure on the various outfits to come overground, will take a fresh look at the security scenario and plan appropriate response. There will be no lowering of guard either against Ulfa or the anti-talks NDFB,” a source said. Among the priorities will be ensuring redeployment of existing security personnel in high-risk areas from low-risk areas and intensifying intelligence gathering. After the ceasefire with DHD (J), there has to be a new assessment.

 
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