Peace talks between Centre, Assam, ULFA pro-talk faction after Aug 15
ULFA pro-talk faction has alleged that there has not been much progress on talks with the Centre since the Narendra Modi government came to power. (File pic)

Peace talks between Centre, Assam, ULFA pro-talk faction after Aug 15

The peace talks between the Centre, Assam government and the ULFA pro-talk faction will be held in Delhi after Independence Day, the outfit’s leader Anup Chetia has said.

Chetia, who was speaking to reporters on Wednesday (August 9), also hoped that the peace talks will be concluded before 2024.

Also read: Assam CM predicts northeastern unity will result in Modi’s third term as PM

“We hope to arrive at a solution with the government of India before the (general) election…It realises that if it signs the agreement with us (ULFA pro-talk faction) the Assam imbroglio will be solved,” he said.

The pro-talks ULFA faction had begun talks with the Centre as long back as in 2011 but a final solution is yet to be arrived at. The faction has alleged that there has not been much progress since the Narendra Modi government came to power, though the talks had reached the final stages during the regime of the former premier Manmohan Singh.

After Independence Day celebrations our discussions will be held in New Delhi with the representatives of the government of India and government of Assam, Chetia told reporters in Shillong. He was in Assam in connection with a programme on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People’s Forum at the North Eastern Hill University.

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Chetia is also the convenor of the North East Indigenous Peoples Forum.

Asked if the pro-talk faction will appeal to ULFA-I chief Paresh Baruah to join the peace process, Chetia said, “We have contact with him. It depends on the government of India – if it is interested to talk with him and group. But there is a lack of communication – the ULFA(I) demands are the same as before and the GOI cannot accept them.”

Chetia was, however, quick to add said that Baruah is not in Bangladesh, as is popularly believed. He is somewhere, we don’t know anything. But our discussions are on. It will be good for Assam and its people if other groups come to the negotiating table, he added.

Also read: Manipur: Amid ethnic strife, Assam Rifles faces battle of sorts

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had invited Baruah to visit and spend a week in the state to witness the changes that had taken place since the 1980s. Sarma’s offer to Baruah had the assurance of a safe passage during his visit.

The chief minister had also expressed his hope that the ULFA (I) leader would accept his invitation to engage in peaceful discussions.

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