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Meet our demands before coming for talks: ULFA
July 24, 2006 12:00 IST
The much-vaunted talks between the United Liberation Front of Asom and the Central government have stumbled upon a roadblock with the outfit slapping three conditions for beginning direct talks with the latter.
ULFA chairman Arobindo Rajkhowa, through a letter to peace initiator Indira Goswami, has said that sovereignty should be the main agenda of the talk along with release of jailed top ULFA leaders and whereabouts of ULFA comrades missing since the Bhutan operation. The letter was sent to the Peoples Consultative Group (PCG) member Mukul Mahanta who in turn sent it to Dr Goswami.
The letter also asked the Centre not to approach them directly for any negotiation until the three conditions were met. These conditions have almost closed all doors of hope for any negotiations although Goswami is still hopeful.
"I am still hopeful and shall let the Home Ministry know about the three conditions," said Goswami in New Delhi.
ULFA's new conditions have been viewed as 'unfortunate' by the Home Ministry. Although no official statement came from Home Secretary V K Duggal, but mandarins of the ministry alleged that the ULFA wanted to create a situation where they do not have to sit for talk and carry on their extortion racket.
Earlier, the PCG also had accused the Home Ministry of making 'unnecessary demands' from the ULFA and said that the decision of a third meeting between them and the Centre were deliberately violated. A bemused Home Ministry and Home Secretary V K Duggal, already under fire for the Mumbai serial blasts, are trying to figure out what wrong they have said by asking for a direct communication from the ULFA.
"I do not know. But what I know is that ULFA has to write directly to the Home Ministry about their desire to talk detailing their demands," said Goswami, who herself is getting frustrated over the deliberate attempt by both sides to make the peace process more complex than ever.
With statements and e-mails flying in from every direction on daily basis, the hope for peace through negotiated settlements only diminishes with complete chaos and confusion marring the peace process.
Under heavy fire from all sides, the Union Home Ministry is unlikely to pamper ULFA anymore as it is too busy handling terrorism and the Naxalism. The ball is now ULFA's court. If they want, the peace process will continue or if they do not want, the labyrinth of deliberately created cloud of confusion will continue to overshadow the ray of hope of permanent peace in Assam.