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Centre monitoring Assam violence, says mediator
February 12, 2006 16:28 IST
Concerned over the fate of the peace process against the backdrop of the ongoing police and Army action in Assam's Kakopathar, which has left nine people dead, mediator for talks with the United Liberation Front of Assam, Indira Goswami, has taken up the matter with National Security Adviser M K Narayanan, requesting him to halt operations immediately.
"I spoke to National Security Adviser M K Narayanan and he assured me that the government is monitoring the situation very strongly," Goswami told PTI in New Delhi.
She said ULFA Commander-in-Chief Paresh Barua seemed positive about the outcome of the just held PCG-government meeting but was 'terribly agitated' when she spoke to him over phone on Saturday.
However, she said there was still a possibility of direct talks between ULFA and the Centre after the ULFA-chosen People's Consultative Group's meeting with the government, likely to be held in March or April.
"In coming days, the PCG will chalk out the modalities for next round of talks with the Centre. We hope that the next PCG-Centre talks will be the last round," she said.
Asked about government's response to ULFA's plan to raise the contentious issue of 'sovereignty,' Goswami said, "When the government said that we are going to discuss all the issues, all the core issues, it is obvious that they are going to listen. It is not that government's hands are tied with some kind of words."
Replying to a question on whether an interlocutor should be appointed by Centre for ULFA talks, she said it was always better to have someone who understood the problem.
On release of top ULFA leaders from various jails of Assam, she said, "I personally feel that (Centre) they will first at least release the children and women cadres of the outfit who were caught during Bhutan operation in 2003."
The government, at a meeting with ULFA-chosen People's Consultative Group last Tuesday, had agreed to examine the possibility of releasing jailed leaders of the outfit in consultation with Assam government.
Both sides had also agreed that maintenance of peaceful atmosphere in the state was vital to create a conducive environment for a dialogue. Union Home Secretary V K Duggal, National Security Advisor M K Narayanan and other senior officials from the Prime Minister's Office and Home Ministry participated in the meeting.