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Free our leaders for talks: ULFA to government
K Anurag in Guwahati | July 15, 2006 13:13 IST
The outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom has insisted on the release of its five top leaders from jail to help it name its representatives to hold direct talks with the Government of India.
'We can't name our representatives for holding negotiations with the Government of India until the release of our detained leaders,' ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa said in a statement e-mailed to the media.
Expressing concern over killing of six ULFA cadres -- Pradip Rajbongshi, Mrinal Rajbongshi, Rubul Ali, Prabal Dutta, Rudra Kalita and Dulu -- by security forces and police last week during operations carried out in Assam and Meghalaya, the militant leader called for restraint from all parties concerned for the sake of finding a peaceful solution to what he called the 'Assam-India political conflict.'
He said forces seeking military solution to the conflict were out to jeopardise the efforts to find a political solution.
'Killing of ULFA cadres by security forces exposed the Government of India's attitude towards the problem. Such killings wouldn't have been possible sans directives from higher ups in the government,' the ULFA leader said.
Rajkhowa called upon people to build a resistance movement to thwart 'such designs' to affect the process of negotiations.
In reaction to the recent appeal made by the Union home ministry asking ULFA to stop talking through the media and to set up direct communication with the government to hold direct talks at the earliest, Rajkhowa said the government too should use ULFA-nominated People's Consultative Group to talk them. The home ministry appeal was made through the media.
Earlier, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had said his government would act as a facilitator for the release of senior ULFA leaders from jail and would recommend a ceasefire provided ULFA talked directly to the Centre for holding the much awaited negotiations at the earliest.
Life in Assam was crippled on Friday by a state-wide bandh called by People's Committee for Peace Initiative in Assam, an organisation sympathetic to ULFA, in protest against the killing of six ULFA cadres by police.