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Rajkhowa questions Baruah’s authority
Published on 22 Apr. 2010 11:02 PM IST
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The rift within the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) widened further with jailed chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa Thursday questioning the authority of the outfit’s elusive commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah in trying to block a peace initiative by the newly-floated Citizen’s Forum.
“Personal views would only add to the confusion and lead to the people of Assam getting confused,” the United Liberation Front of Asom chairman told journalists while being produced before a Guwahati court.
Rajkhowa was reacting to a series of e-mailed statements by Baruah in the past four days where he rejected an initiative by the Forum to hold a state-level convention Saturday to push forward the deadlocked peace process.
Baruah’s adamant stand of rejecting any peace initiative minus independence is seen as a snub to the outfit’s overground leaders who recently helped in the formation of the Citizen’s Forum to broker peace with the government.
The 11-member Citizen’s Forum last week claimed the top ULFA leadership, including its elusive commander-in-chief, would come for peace talks. The Forum was formed after ULFA vice chairman Pradip Gogoi and publicity chief Mithinga Daimary met leading citizens in the state and appealed for their help in furthering the deadlocked peace process.
The two ULFA leaders are now out on bail after a Guwahati court last month released them from judicial custody.
“Let there be no personal views on the matter, let us not create confusion in the minds of the people of Assam,” the ULFA chairman Rajkhowa said.
On Thursday, the United Liberation Front of Asom commander-in-chief in a statement said they were not against peace talks, but reiterated that there can be no compromise on their demand of independence.
Rajkhowa has become the second top leader to have challenged Baruah’s statements. On Wednesday, jailed deputy commander-in-chief Raju Baruah too questioned Paresh Baruah.
“On matters of peace talks, it is the collective leadership whose views should be considered important and not individual or personal views of Paresh Baruah,” Raju Baruah told journalists while being produced in a Guwahati court Wednesday.
The series of statements and counter statements clearly indicates a rift within the ULFA is becoming visible - Paresh Baruah on one side, adamant on waging a war for independence, and the other top rebel leadership who are either in jail or out on bail expressing their desire for peace talks with the government.
Barring the ULFA’s elusive commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah, the entire top brass of the outfit is in jail.
-- the imprisoned leaders include chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, deputy commander-in-chief Raju Baruah, self-styled foreign secretary Sasha Choudhury, finance secretary Chitrabon Hazarika, cultural secretary Pranati Deka, and United Liberation Front of Asom political ideologue Bhimkanta Buragohain.

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