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Home > India > News > Report

ULFA negotiators told to clarify 'sovereignty demand'

K Anurag in Guwahati | June 21, 2008 21:54 IST

Assam government has asked the United Liberation Front of Assam-nominated negotiators in the People's Consultative Group to state clearly their stand on the ULFA's demand for a 'sovereign Assam.'

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said the PCG must make its stand clear on the issue of sovereignty.

"The government wants to know the views of the PCG whether they are in favour of a sovereign Assam. If it is, what is the point in talking about holding discussions and allowing things to prolong?"

The state government's call to the PCG came in reaction to allegations levelled by the PCG members at a citizen's meeting in Guwahati a couple of days back. They alleged that the Assam government lacked political will to solve the ULFA problem through dialogue.

The citizens' meeting criticized the government for setting tough pre-conditions for talks with the ULFA and expressed apprehension that the conditions were aimed at stymieing chances of dialogue with the insurgent group, not at finding a solution through negotiation.

Gogoi said, "Our stand is clear. Let the militant outfits give up violence and arms and discuss their demands within the ambit of the Constitution. The pre-conditions set by the counter-insurgency Unified Command in its last meeting are not our own but in line with the policy of government of India."

The Unified Command decided that direct talks with the ULFA or any militant group would be possible only within the ambit of Indian Constitution. That clearly implies that there was no question discussing the issue of Assam's sovereignty with the ULFA.

The PCG was constituted by the ULFA in September 2005 to do the spade war to facilitate direct talks between the outfit's leadership and the Government of India.

The efforts to broker Government-ULFA talks petered out after three rounds of negotiation between the PCG and the government of India because of rigid postures adopted by both the ULFA and the Central government.