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let ULFA take initiative: Gogoi
Kokrajhar (Assam), APR 26 (IANS):
Published on 27 Apr. 2010 12:17 AM IST
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Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi Monday put the onus of holding peace talks on the outlawed ULFA, saying the government was ready for negotiations. The chief minister was reacting to queries about the government’s response to the demand for peace talks with the ULFA made by the newly-floated Citizen’s Forum, which held a daylong conclave Saturday.
“Let the ULFA first respond to the resolutions adopted by the Citizen’s Forum. We have to know what the ULFA thinks about the forum and also if the outfit’s leadership acknowledges the initiative taken by it,” the chief minister said.
Gogoi said this on the sidelines of the swearing-in ceremony of newly-elected members of the Bodoland Territorial Council, a politico-administrative structure in Kokrajhar in western Assam. “From our side, we are ready to hold talks, but they should first abjure violence and lay down arms,” the chief minister said.
Among the important resolutions passed at the forum’s conclave is one for release of all jailed ULFA leaders to enable them to hold their general council meeting to take a decision regarding peace talks with the government.
Saturday’s meeting was attended by more than 1,000 invited guests representing various political parties, student leaders, leading citizens, and ethnic groups.
The conclave was held despite ULFA’s elusive commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah rejecting the initiative, saying there can be no compromise on its demand for independence.
Barring 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 ULFA political ideologue Bhimkanta Buragohain. Both the central and the state government had earlier rejected holding talks with the ULFA on the issue of sovereignty, but said they were ready for unconditional 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 pushing forward the deadlocked peace process.
The two ULFA leaders are now out on bail after a Guwahati court last month released them from judicial custody.
GOI should have no reservation on talks
GUWAHATI, APR 26 (NEPS): The State level Convention( ‘Sanmilita Jatiya Abhivartan’) held in Guwahati on Saturday to pave way for talks between the Govt of India and the ULFA was quite successful in terms of participation. Around 1500 delegates/representatives from more than 90 organizations and bodies drawn from all over the State participated in the Meet.
Dr Hiren Gohain chaired all the sessions of the Convention. Setting the note in the inaugural session, he said---“The Assamese community is in crisis due to external pressure which we have failed to tackle. In the last 30 years, over 12,000 ULFA members and 18,000 others were killed. This apart, many ULFA leaders have been missing.” There are blasts in various parts of the State and that have made individual liberty very fragile. If the peace process is stalled, we won’t get rid of the problems afflicting the State. Now both the ULFA
and the government have shown positive gesture for peace talks, but a sense of mistrust pulls them back. The peace overture taken by Mamoni Raisom Goswami with the formation of the People’s Consultative Group (PCG) is a chapter of history as the enthusiasm on the part of the government was lacking and the PCG too split later on. We need to learn a lesson from that incident — that an individual’s view can’t be above that of the masses. We have had informal discussions with some
ULFA leaders, but it resulted in a false propaganda against us by some. However, the ULFA leaders who have got the chance to feel the pulse of the people of Assam from a close range haven’t misunderstood us. Today it is imperative for the ULFA has to bury the differences within itself.” Mamoni Raisom, sharing the dais with Gohain in the same session regretted the failed PCG initiative despite the fact that Paresh Barua was directly involved and was coordinating with the PCG. She hoped that this present initiative will succeed and asked Paresh Barua again to come out and join hands for peace. Later when a few media persons approached Mamoni for her personal view on the present initiative, she declined to comment.
Speaker after speaker repeated the same thing---- that talks between the GOI and the ULFA is an utmost necessity now. The vast majority of those present also felt the GOI must not have reservations about talking on all issues including sovereignty as just taking up sovereignty on the table doesn’t mean granting it.
Representatives of 93 organizations of the state including political parties and students’ bodies took part in the convention and stressed the need for talks to solve the problem of insurgency. The main thrust of majority of the participants was that the demand for sovereignty should be included in the agenda for talks.

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