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Feb 10: ULFA to hold talks
Spl. Correspondent Guwahati, Feb 5:
Published on 6 Feb. 2011 12:39 AM IST
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Outlawed United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) on Saturday said it was ready to hold unconditional peace talks with the Centre and was expected to commence on February 10 in New Delhi in a move to work out a solution to the three decades old armed struggle. “We came forward for peace talks respecting the wishes and sentiments of the people in Assam. Formality of the talks will begin on February 10,” ULFA foreign secretary Sasha Chowdhury told journalists on Saturday.
The ULFA delegation would be led by ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and meet the central team probably headed by either home minister P. Chidambaram or home secretary G.K. Pillai. Interlocutor P.C. Haldar and Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi are also expected to take part in the first round of the talks.
Chowdhury said the general council ratified the decision taken by the central executive council (CEC) to hold unconditional peace talks adding that the commander-in-chief would be intimated about the decision taken.
“We agreed to unconditional talks. We don’t want any demand to jeopardize the peace process,” Chowdhury replied when asked if ULFA had budged from its core demand of sovereignty.
He noted that pre-conditions by both ULFA and the Centre have been ruining possible peace negotiations since 1992 and that the ULFA has, till now, adopted only one resolution - unconditional talks. Paresh Baruah has remained firm on the demand for sovereignty but according to Chowdhury, the ‘commander-in-chief’ and all members were bound to accept the decision of the general council.
He said, “So far, we haven’t worked out our agenda for talks. But it will be a reflection of the hopes and aspirations of the people in Assam,” Chowdhury said. He added that the agenda would be finalized in consultation with the major organizations in the state. Chowdhury said ULFA would look into the modalities for talks before deciding on the model of negotiations. ULFA vice chairman Pradip Gogoi also said that the decision of the general council and central executive council was final and binding adding, “one man can’t disrupt the peace process.” “Therefore, action would be initiated against anyone who defies or disregards the decision,” Gogoi said.
Even as the assembly elections were round the corner, Chowdhury said ULFA would have no role to play in the elections and would keep away from politics at this point in time.
ULFA condemns past killings
The move is also significant because after three decades of armed movement in which several thousand civilians were killed, the ULFA has admitted that all killings were wrong. “Let’s be pragmatic. Right from the beginning all killings by ULFA and government have been wrong. All killings were wrong, yes,” said Sasha Choudhury.
But the victims are not convinced. The families of those killed by ULFA are on a silent protest saying they will fight for justice.

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