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In a first in 40 years, ULFA-I not to boycott I-Day celebrations

GUWAHATI, AUG 12 ( AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 8/12/2021 1:12:40 PM IST

For the first time in its 42-year-old history, the banned United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) has decided not to boycott the Independence Day celebrations this year or call for a shutdown on the occasion, reports Hindustan Times.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Rumel Asom, a member of the outfit’s publicity wing, also expressed willingness to talk to the Centre on the question of Assam’s sovereignty. HT has seen a copy of the two-page statement written in Assamese.

“In view of the Covid-19 situation….and other problems like flood, erosion and unemployment affecting indigenous populations, ULFA-I has refrained itself this time from armed protest of the fake Independence Day of colonial India or called for a ‘bandh’,” the statement read.

Since its inception in 1979 with the aim of an armed struggle to create an independent Assam, ULFA has been boycotting Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations and indulged in violent activities on those days.

Though it refrained from issuing a boycott call this time, the outfit asked the public to protest against Independence Day celebrations by wearing black badges, flying the ULFA-I flag and other means while following Covid-19 protocols.

“Our organization is not against talks or belligerent. But it is not possible to deny historic facts or waver from our ideological goals in the name of talks. Indian authorities have maintained that talks with ULFA-I can’t include the question of (Assam’s) sovereignty,” the statement added.

The statement cited the Treaty of Yandaboo, 1826 signed between the king of Myanmar (Burma) and the British, which ended Myanmar’s claim on Assam and Manipur, to claim Assam has always been “independent and autonomous”.

ULFA-I sought “restoration of sovereignty on historical facts” as a pre-condition for talks with the Centre. “The constitution of India has been amended nearly 100 times. Why can’t it be amended again to allow for talks with ULFA-I? If India wants talks, it should amend the constitution to approve the right to secede by communities or allow a plebiscite participated by bonafide indigenous communities,” it added.

 

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