Raising hopes for a peace process to take place between the banned United Liberation Front of Assam and the government of India, a designated court in Guwahati on Thursday granted bail to the self-styled 'chairman' of the outfit Arabinda Rajkhowa in all the six TADA cases pending against him.
The bail amount has been fixed at Rs 1 lakh with two sureties of like amount against each of the cases.
The court has directed Rajkhowa deposit his passport, if any. He has been asked to take prior permission of the court if he wants to go out of Assam and refrain from trying to tamper and hamper with investigation of cases pending against him.
The bail has become a possibility after the Assam government had decided against contesting the ULFA leader's bail plea in the interest of peace process with the outfit.
Arabinda Rajkhowa was arrested along with the outfit's finance secretary Chitrabon Hazarika and foreign secretary Sasadhar Choudhury , who were picked up in Bangladesh and handed over to Indian authority at Dawki border post in Meghalaya in December last year.
Five more ULFA leaders including its vice-chairman Pradip Gogoi, deputy commander in chief Raju Barua, central publicity secretary Mithinga Daimari, cultural secretary Pranati Deka and adviser Bhimkanta Buragohain have already been released on bail.
Meanwhile, former chief minister of Assam and a leader of regional Asom Gana Parishad Prafulla Kumar Mahanta has stated that the peace process with the banned ULFA will not taste any success unless the outfit's military wing chief Paresh Barua, who is still at large, could be brought to the negotiation table by the government of India.
He said a section of senior ULFA leaders had expressed willingness to hold talks with the government because of the changed of guard in the neighbouring Bangladesh where the regime has cracked the whip on North East insurgents taking shelter in that country.
The ULFA chairman's brother Ajoy Rajkonwar informed that the entire family had been elated over the grant of bail to Arabinda and informed that people from his ancestral village in Lakwa in Sivasager district have made elaborate preparation to welcome him home.
A large number of youth from his village have arrived in Guwahati to escort the ULFA leader home once he is released from the jail.