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NSCN cue for Ulfa ‘terms’
Guwahati, Feb 16 (AGENCIES)
Published on 16 Feb. 2010 11:56 PM IST
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Dispur has asked the Centre to equate Ulfa with the NSCN when it comes to setting pre-conditions for ceasefire and subsequent talks. A source said now that the other smaller groups in the state have entered into ceasefire, the Centre could rethink the preconditions laid for ceasefire and dialogue for Ulfa and even for the Ranjan Daimary faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland, reported the Telegraph. The government has already climbed down from the key arms-surrender clause the very day the Karbi Longri NC Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF) — the last of the smaller groups — surrendered en masse at a ceremony at Diphu. The NSCN factions had not surrendered their weapons, nor was there any specific agenda for talks — an issue that has kept both Ulfa and the government from meeting at the negotiating table. The source said since the number of groups still waging an armed struggle had now been reduced to two, there was no possibility of other outfits demanding change in talks pre-conditions if exceptions were made for Ulfa and the NDFB (anti-talks). While the Dima Halam Daogah (Jewel) gave up arms in October last year, the KLNLF gave up theirs last week. “There will be no cacophony of demands from other groups as they have all already entered into a ceasefire,” a source said. “It is now time to concentrate fully on Ulfa and the Ranjan Daimary group, which are more powerful than those which have come overground,” he said. According to him, Delhi has now veered round to the idea that insisting on fulfillment of the pre-conditions by the two groups would only delay the peace process. “While the public posturing from either side — government and the outfits — may continue for some time, efforts are already under way to find a middle path that will not lower the ‘image’ of the two outfits and the government in the public eye,” he said. Both the NSCN factions have been a great deal stronger than Ulfa and the Ranjan Daimary group not only militarily and politically, but had also enjoyed considerable public support. “In public, they continue to maintain that sovereignty is non-negotiable, but at the same time they have been in ceasefire for over a decade,” the source said. “In no way has their image been diluted because they are talking peace and trying to find an honourable solution,” he said. “There will be no lowering of guard but all attempts will be made to get the two groups to the talks table and within the (framework of the) Constitution. For example, Dispur had not reacted to home secretary G.K. Pillai’s statement that laying down arms is no longer a condition for the two groups. It was at Dispur’s insistence earlier that the Centre imposed the joint custody of arms, as the militants in ceasefire were misusing their arms. This is a sign of an all-round thaw in the government’s hawkish stance,” he added.

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