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Centre calls meet for talks with ULFA
NEW Delhi/Guwahati, JAN 28 (IANS/ANI):
Published on 29 Jan. 2010 12:53 AM IST
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The Central Government has called for a high-level meeting next month to discuss strategy for possible talks with the rebel United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). Home Ministry officials said Union Home Minister P Chidambaram would chair the meeting. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and other top officials of the administration will also attend the meeting. According to a ANi report, this step by the Centre is significant, as the entire top ULFA leadership apart from its military wing chief Paresh Barua is currently in jail. The Centre has made it clear that it would hold talks with the ULFA only if they abjure violence and give up the demand for a separate State. Jailed ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa has however, made it clear that there can be no talks with ‘handcuffs on’. Rajkhowa said, “We have to be free. We want peace, but not in this way.” Barua said: “We are ready for a dialogue provided sovereignty for Assam is discussed.” The Centre had earlier in 2005 held three rounds of discussions with an ULFA-appointed peace panel, the People’s Consultative Group (PCG) with people drawn from the civil society to thrash out ways for talks to be resumed between ULFA and the government. The ULFA-appointed PCG had also discussed the issue with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. But the efforts of the PCG had failed after the Centre refuted its certain demands that included talks on the issue of sovereignty. Meanwhile, five separatists were arrested and a major plot to carry out serial explosions in Assam was foiled by security forces who seized an estimated 100 kg of the highly potent plastic explosive Neogel-90, officials Thursday said. A police spokesperson said three militants of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) were arrested Thursday by a joint team of police and army soldiers from Tinsukia district in eastern Assam, while in a separate raid, two rebels of the same group were nabbed in Jorhat district. “All the five ULFA militants arrested had recently sneaked into eastern Assam from camps in Myanmar with specific mission to carry out violent attacks,” a senior police official said. Security forces also seized some weapons and explosives from the arrested rebels. “Investigations are on to find out if there could be more militants who might have sneaked into Assam from Myanmar,” the official said. Meanwhile, a joint of team of police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers late Wednesday seized nearly 100 kg of Neogel-90 during a routine road check in the eastern Lakhimpur district. The highly potent explosive, neatly concealed in packets, was recovered from a private vehicle. “I would say Neogel-90 is a deadly explosive and, if used properly, could have killed a thousand people,” a senior CRPF official said requesting he not be named. “We suspect the explosive consignment could have been procured by the NDFB (National Democratic Front of Bodoland) to carry out violent attacks,” the official said. Neogel-90 is an ammonium nitrate-based material used just twice in terror attacks in India - once in 2007 Hyderabad twin blasts and the serial explosions in Jaipur in 2008. In another major haul, around two lakh detonators being smuggled to Nepal were seized in Bihar. Bihar police intercepted a truck carrying the detonators, which were to be smuggled to Nepal through the border at Raxaul in East Champaran district, near Hartali Chowk in Patna last night on a tipoff, officials said. Invoices from the Rajasthan Explosive and Chemicals Limited consigned for the Synergic Power Development Private Limited in Nepal were seized. The driver and helper of the truck were arrested and being interrogated.

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