All the top leaders of the United Liberation Front of Assam led by 'chairman' Arabinda Rajkhowa submitted their charter of demands to Home Minister P Chidambaram in New Delhi on Friday, paving way for the peace process with the government.
"We are positive something concrete will emerge during the negotiation process. We expect the first round of formal talks to focus on preparing modalities for dialogue," ULFA's 'central publicity secretary' Mithinga Daimary told rediff.com before leaving for New Delhi.
The ULFA took to armed revolution in April 1979 for restoration of 'sovereignty of Assam'. However, after 32 years of armed struggled the outfit leaders led by Rajkhowa decided to talk peace with the government after dropping their demand for 'sovereignty of Assam'.
The absence of the commander-in-chief of the outfit Paresh Barua in the dialogue has been a hiccup in the peace process, which enjoys support of an overwhelming majority of senior leaders of the outfits and most of its armed battalions.
Paresh Baruah, reported to be hiding in the Myanmar-China border area along with his loyal cadres, stated an e-mail statement, "We cannot support peace talks as the ULFA leadership led by Rajkhowa is under the influence of our enemy (government)", clearing referring to the status of the pro-talks leaders who are out of jail on bail.
Apart from Rajkhowa, the other ULFA leaders who have left for New Delhi to take part in dialogue include 'vice chairman' Pradip Gogoi, 'deputy commander-in-chief' Raju Baruah, 'foreign secretary' Sasha Choudhury, 'finance secretary' Chitraban Hazarika, 'cultural secretary' Pranati Deka and political ideologue Bhimkanta Buragohain.
Eastern Command chief reviews security
Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Bikram Singh, general officer commanding-in-chief, Eastern Command of Indian Army is on a two-day visit to Gajraj Corps (Four Corps) headquarters at Tezpur in Assam to take stock of the security situation.
Gajraj Corps GOC Lt Gen Shakti Gurung briefed Lt Singh about the security scenario and welfare measures undertaken in the region by the force, a defence source informed.
While interacting with the officers Gajraj Corps, Lt Singh said that he was happy to see reduction in terrorist activities and improvement in internal situation in Assam. He directed that all operations in the area should be conducted keeping in view the army's philosophy of 'iron hand in velvet glove'.
He further said that it was heartening to note that security forces, intelligence agencies and civil administration were working in harmony and synergy, which had resulted in ushering peace and prosperity in Assam.