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Home > News > Report

Assam: CM asks ULFA to come forward for talks

K Anurag in Guwahati | November 14, 2007 15:22 IST

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Wednesday asked the banned United Liberation Front of Assom to come forward to find a solution to the insurgency problem plaguing the state.

Gogoi said the banned outfit had lost the opportunity to initiate a political dialogue last year when the government had declared a unilateral ceasefire during August-September.

"It was a unique gesture as it was the first time a government had declared a unilateral ceasefire with a banned militant group. But the ULFA used the temporary lull in Army operations to recruit cadres and extort money. This reflected the group's negative attitude towards finding a negotiated solution," Gogoi told the Assam Assembly on Wednesday.

"Still, we are keeping our doors open for talks with the ULFA provided it shows a sincere gesture for a political solution. I, therefore, appeal to the banned ULFA to come forward for talks for the greater interests of peace and prosperity in the state and respond to the people's longing for peace," he said.

Earlier, the Opposition political parties criticised the Assam government for failing to control insurgents who were still striking at will in the state. They also accused the state police force of being inefficient.

However, the chief minister showered praise on the state's police force. He lauded them for putting up a brave front in spite of facing logistical constraints in fighting militants and promised to go for massive modernisation of the force.

"Because of the efforts of our policemen, the number of violent incidents in the state has come down compared to the years ruled by the previous Assom Gana Parishad government," Gogoi said while quoting the official figures on insurgency-related violence to prove his point.

He said that many other states in the country were also facing the problem of insurgency. The chief minister added that employment-oriented development could tackle emergency by reducing the number of unemployed people, who comprised the recruitment base for militant groups.