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ULFA, govt peace talks hit roadblock
September 12, 2006 19:09 IST
The peace process between the United Liberation Front of Asom and the Centre appears to have hit a roadblock with both sides refusing to back down from their respective stands.
While the banned group is insisting that the government should release its top leaders from jail before direct talks, the Centre has maintained that it would consider the demand only after receiving a written commitment about ULFA's willingness to participate in parleys.
The current ceasefire in Assam ends in four days and there is no indication of flexibility from either side.
"Yes, it seems we are not moving forward," noted author Indira Goswami, who has been mediating on behalf of ULFA for almost two years, told PTI in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Goswami said there was a very slim chance of the Centre extending the truce in Assam beyond September 15.
"It seems it (ceasefire) will not be possible," she said adding, she was not expecting any communication from the ULFA before the end of the current truce.
Goswami said she had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in an effort to break the deadlock, requesting him to release the jailed ULFA leaders and to take a sympathetic approach in resolving the nearly three-decade-old insurgency in Assam.
"I sent a letter to the prime minister on Sunday, requesting him to take a sympathetic view and release the top ULFA leaders from jail," she said.
Indirectly expressing unhappiness over the Home Ministry's insistence on a written commitment from the ULFA, she said, "I have faith in the prime minister. I am expecting something from him after his return from Brazil and Cuba."
The Centre had on September 5 extended the ceasefire for the third time till September 15, but it is understood to have conveyed to mediators that unless the government receives any communication from the outfit, there will be no further extension.
Announcing the ceasefire after a high-level meeting attended by National Security Advisor M K Narayanan, Intelligence Bureau Chief E S L Narisimhan and mediators Goswami and Rebati Phukan, Home Secretary V K Duggal had said the government was expecting "some communication" from ULFA soon on whether it would participate in direct talks.