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Six ULFA leaders’ nightlong meeting in Guwahati jail
GUWAHATI, DEC 27 (IANS):
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Published on 27 Dec. 2009 11:37 PM IST
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Six arrested top leaders of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), including its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, spent Saturday night in a huddle in the Guwahati Central Jail probably discussing strategies, officials revealed. After a Guwahati court Saturday remanded Rajkhowa and ULFA deputy commander-in-chief Raju Baruah to judicial custody, the two leaders shared the same prison cell with four other senior members of the outfit already lodged in the jail. The four are: ULFA vice president Pradeep Gogoi, self-styled foreign secretary Sasha Choudhury, finance secretary Chitraban Hazarika and publicity chief Mithinga Daimary. According to Guwahati jail sources, the six separatist leaders shared the same cell and spent the better part of the night in a huddle - all of them looked at ease and comfortable. They kept talking animatedly. Some felt that it was probably a government strategy to allow the six ULFA leaders to meet inside the jail. The prosecution did not slap any fresh charges against Rajkhowa and Baruah while being produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Saturday, paving the way for judicial remand. “Surely all the six of them would get an opportunity to share their views and this could help in devising future strategies,” said Lachit Bordoloi, a rights leader and a member of the ULFA constituted People’s Consultative Group. The group was formed in 2005 to explore possibilities of peace talks with the government. ULFA cultural secretary Pranati Deka, wife of Chitraban Hazarika, is also in the Guwahati jail since 2003 although she wouldn’t get a chance to catch up with the other six leaders as her cell is separate from that of the male prisoners. “Whether or not the six leaders would be able to take a decision for peace talks is another matter, but definitely they would be able to exchange views and take stock of the situation,” Bijon Mahajan, legal counsel of Rajkhowa and Baruah, told IANS. “After all we want peace and for bringing peace I feel this is a very positive endeavour on the part of the government to have allowed Rajkhowa and Baruah to be sent to jail.” Rajkhowa and Baruah were in police custody since their arrest Dec 5. Police claimed that the two ULFA leaders with their families, Rajkhowa’s personal security guard Raja Bora, and wife of ULFA ‘foreign secretary’ Sasha Choudhury surrendered before Indian authorities at Dawki in Meghalaya and were later arrested. The ULFA chairman later denied he surrendered and said they were being arrested. Sasha Choudhury and Chitraban Hazarika were also arrested under similar circumstances in November.

 
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