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Doors still open for talks with ULFA: Gogoi
K Anurag in Guwahati | January 01, 2007 15:31 IST
On New Year's Day, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi renewed the appeal for talks with the banned United Liberation Front of Asom stating that the doors were still open for talks, though the militant group was yet to respond to the offer of 'safe passage' from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Speaking to the media at his official residence in Guwahati on Monday, Gogoi pointed out that it was for the first time the prime minister of the country offered safe passage to ULFA leaders willing to come over to hold dialogue.
Dr Singh offered safe passage to ULFA leaders to come over for talks late last month. The militant group, however, has been lukewarm to it so far, much to the chagrin of the government.
The chief minister called upon the civil society of the state to mount pressure on ULFA to come forward for talks in the greater interests of development and peace as well as for the sake of the future generation in the state.
Gogoi announced that a comprehensive rehabilitation package would be put into practice by his government during the coming year for the child victims and those widowed due to insurgency-related violence.
He said the modalities of the rehabilitation package were being worked out. The state home department has been asked to prepare a list of child victims and widows of insurgency.
The government will set up a separate special fund to support the rehabilitation package in a sustained manner. There may be provisions for monthly financial assistance to widows of insurgency. The main aim of the project is to help child victims get education till they attain the age of 18 years.
Gogoi exuded confidence that the boycott call given by the banned ULFA would not hamper the forthcoming 33rd National Games in Guwahati. He said the games would be held under tight security and there was no apprehension among the organisers over the 'threat' pronounced by the ULFA.
"I am confident that participants from other parts of the country would come to participate in the games. Indian people are courageous. That is the beauty of India. Otherwise India wouldn't have survived," Gogoi said.