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'ULFA should participate in democratic process'

Last updated on: February 02, 2006 23:50 IST

The United Liberated Front of Assam should abandon its confrontonist stand and follow the example of the Bodo Liberation Tigers, who gave up arms and participated in elections, Tarun Gogoi, Assam chief minister said on Thursday. 

Gogoi told the Assembly that ULFA should take charge of the state through a peaceful democratic process and not through insurgency or by demanding sovereignity and independence.

It was in the hands of the ULFA to bring peace and development to the state by abjuring violence, giving up its confrontationist stand and, instead, taking part in the democratic process as the BLT did, he said.

When the BLT realised that violence was not beneficial and decided to take up the reins of local administration, there was peace and development in Assam's Bodoland, Gogoi pointed out.

Hoping that the ULFA-nominated People's Consultative Group would help in facilitating direct talks between them and the Centre, he said an early ceasefire was awaited.

Stating there was initial apprehension about the peace talks, the chief minister took credit for insisting on the initiative taken by Indira Roisam Goswami, the talks facilitator. He also claimed credit for the progress on the talks due to the importance and emphasis laid on it by his government.

It was for the first time that a prime minister participated directly in the first round of talks with an insurgent group, Gogoi said.

Gogoi accused the previous Asom Ghana Parishad government of taking a confrontationist line with the ULFA and other militant outfits, unlike his government, which was for peace initiatives leading to most of the underground groups either surrendering or agreeing to a ceasefire.

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