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ULFA in Delhi for talks, ULFA team to meet HM, Home Secretary
Published on 10 Feb. 2011 1:00 AM IST
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A 22-member team comprising top Assam government officials and leaders of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa) left for New Delhi on Wednesday to formally initiate the peace process amid threat by the outfit’s anti-talks faction to make Assam bleed again. Elusive Ulfa commander-in-chief Paresh Barua, believed to be holed out in northern Myanmar with some 150 fighters, has rejected the peace process being pursued by his former colleagues and vowed to carry on his battle to liberate Assam from ‘colonial India’.
Leading the Ulfa delegate is its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa. The others, all members of the outfit’s decision-making central executive committee, include deputy commander-in-chief Raju Barua, general secretary Pradip Gogoi, foreign secretary Sashadhar Choudhury, finance secretary Chitrabon Hazarika and publicity secretary Mithinga Daimary.
Assam chief secretary NK Das also took the afternoon flight with the Ulfa leaders along with additional DGP (special branch) Khagen Sarma, home commissioner Jishnu Baruah and 11 other officials, reports Hindustan Times.
Chief secretary Das said the delegation would be meeting Union home minister P. Chidambaram Thursday morning before holding ‘introductory talks’ with Union home secretary GK Pillai. Former IB chief and the Centre’s interlocutor PC Haldar would be attending the meeting.
The Ulfa leaders are also expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh since he represents Assam in the Rajya Sabha. February 13 has been marked as a tentative date for a meeting between the PM and the Rajkhowa-led Ulfa delegate.
Top ULFA leaders led by chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa today met Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi and sought his cooperation to take forward the peace process with the Centre.
Rajkhowa and seven other leaders met the chief minister at his official residence on the eve of talks with a central team led by union home secretary G K Pillai tomorrow.
Gogoi told reporters after the meeting that this was the first time a chief minister had met the ULFA leadership “officially and face-to-face”.
“I hope talks with the Centre is successful and they discussed with me how to take the peace process forward”, Gogoi said.
Asked whether the ULFA leaders had presented their demands before him, Gogoi said, “They will tell the Centre about their demands”.
Meanwhile, Rajkhowa told reporters their meeting with the chief minister was “primarily a courtesy call before the talks”.
“We urged the chief minister to speed up the process in New Delhi and sought his cooperation to take the peace process to the next phase. The modalities for the talks have not been worked out so far and will come later”, he said.
Besides Rajkhowa, the other leaders of the outfit present in the meeting were vice chairman Pradip Gogoi, political advisor Bhimakanta Buragohain, foreign secretary Sasha Choudhury, finance secretary Chitrabon Hazarika, cultural secretary Pranati Deka, publicity secretary Mithinga Daimary and deputy commander-in Raju Barua.
The ULFA leaders were likely to call upon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram though the dates were yet to be fixed.
The ULFA leaders released from jail recently have decided to hold unconditional talks with the government but the faction led by outfit’s Commander-in-chief Paresh Barua was opposed to it.

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