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'Centre must declare truce with ULFA'
K Anurag in Guwahati | August 05, 2006 18:09 IST
Sensing that a cloud of uncertainty has hampered the peace initiative from facilitating direct parleys between the banned United Liberation Front of Asom and the government, various representatives of civil society in Assam on Saturday called upon the Centre to declare unilateral ceasefire with the militant group to give a fresh lease of life to the peace initiative.
The civil society groups also called upon ULFA to reciprocate in case the Centre declares unilateral truce and urged Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to intervene to facilitate direct talks between both the sides that have started blaming each other for the hitch that has crept into the peace initiative.
Representatives of Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party, Asom Gana Parishad, Left parties, All Assam Students Union, Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad, president of Asom Sahitya Sabha (a major organisation of litterateurs), Kanaksen Deka, members of the ULFA-constituted People's Consultative Group and several other intellectuals participated in a round table conference organised by Guwahati University in Assam to discuss ways to remove hurdles appearing in the way of direct ULFA-Centre talks.
The meeting resolved that Gogoi should play a pro-active role in removing the hurdles. The participants in the discussion urged the Centre to take a fresh initiative to keep the peace process on track and announce a unilateral ceasefire that is to be reciprocated by the ULFA.
The meeting was of the view that five central executive committee leaders of ULFA should be freed from the jail as demanded by the militant group to brighten chances of direct talks.
The banned ULFA has been demanding release of these leaders in the interests of holding talks with the government, while the Centre has been insisting that ULFA must send a direct communication in black expressing its willingness to sit for dialogue and to demand release of its top leaders from jail.
The members of the PCG participating in the meeting opposed the suggestion that an interlocutor should be appointed to carry forward the peace initiative. However, it was strongly advocated secrecy should be maintained when the peace process was on.
Participants in the meeting were in agreement that roadblocks in the path of restoring peace could be removed only through dialogue and urged the ULFA to go for unconditional talks with the government.