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Army not optimistic about ULFA-govt talks
K Anurag in Guwahati | September 06, 2006 19:27 IST
Engaged in counter-insurgency operations in Assam against the banned United Liberation Front of Asom, the Army is not very optimistic about direct talks between the group and the Central government.
This, despite the government's decision to extend suspension of Army operations against ULFA until September 15, hoping for a direct commitment from ULFA toward the talks.
A statement issued by the Defence Wing of the Press Information Bureau on Thursday virtually claimed that the banned ULFA was hardly interested in talks.
The statement's opening line reads - 'The ULFA has been obfuscating on the issue of direct talks with the Centre on some pretext or the other. Intelligence reports indicate that ULFA is reluctant for talks, as they would like to re-group'.
The statement accused the ULFA of being too deep into the 'financial dynamics' of insurgency to care about talks with New Delhi.
'Militancy has now developed from being a small scale industry to a large scale one and sheer economics of budgets of the militant groups are quite revealing. The purported budget of the ULFA for 2005-06 is Rs 70 crore, an increase of 10 percent over the last year's budget. The bulk of the budget is for procurement of weapons and special operations', the statement said.
The Defence Wing statement pointed out that such huge amounts of money could not be raised through only extortion and stated that the people of Asom need to know their sources. It hinted that these could be the roaring export business and enterprises being run by the ULFA in Bangladesh and the opulence in which their leaders live.
The statement accused the ULFA of being involved in running fake currency rackets, especially in bordering areas of the state with the help of the ISI to boost its finances.
Meanwhile, the ULFA-nominated People's Consultative Group which sought intervention from the prime minister to facilitate release of five top ULFA leaders, remained hopeful that the talks would be held.
ULFA, on its part, however, although the militant group apparently has not indicated any urgency to send the letter of commitment sought by the Centre without the release of its leaders from jail.