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Assam offers jailed ULFA members free passage

June 04, 2005 19:02 IST

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday said his government was ready to give free passage to jailed United Liberation Front of Assam central executive members and even consider freeing them.

Gogoi told reporters that his government was ready to give the incarcerated free passage to participate in the ULFA's central executive meeting to take a decision on the recent invitation from the Prime Minister's Office for talks.

ULFA commander-in-chief Paresh Barua had told the media recently that the outfit wanted ten of its imprisoned members of the 16-member central executive council to be freed so that the Centre's invitation for talks could be discussed.

Describing the ULFA's response to the PMO missive as a "forward movement and a positive step" towards the proposed talks, Gogoi assured that his government would not put any hurdles towards the parleys.

To queries if the government would set the imprisoned members free, he said if the situation demanded, then the government, after studying the pros and cons, could consider the demand for freeing them if such a formal proposal came from the banned outfit or even the Centre.

Gogoi also added that the government could free only those in Assam jails, but had no authority to set ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia free from a Bangladesh jail.

Meanwhile, legal sources here said that freeing of jailed ULFA leaders was a possible option if the state government wanted to and stood as the guarantor.

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