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Ready for peace talks without preconditions: ULFA

Source: PTI
January 02, 2011 19:19 IST
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United Liberation Front of Asom chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa on Sunday said his outfit was ready to sit for peace talks without any preconditions for an "honourable" solution to relieve the people of Assam of their suffering.

"A new chapter begins in our long struggle. As per the wishes of the National Convention, we will sit for peace talks with the government without preconditions," the 54-year-old ULFA leader, who was released from jail on Saturday, told a massive gathering in front of the historic Ranghar where the ULFA was formed by him and five others on April 7, 1979.

He did not mention the outfit's core demand of sovereignty.

"We will definitely try for an honourable solution to the conflict. If not, then we will again come to the people of the state and proceed on our next step as per their advice as to whether take up arms again, join politics (rajpath) or what else. Whatever direction they give us we will follow", Rajkhowa said.

The ULFA leader was released from Guwahati Central jail on Saturday after he was granted bail by the designated TADA court.

Rajkhowa assured the people that this time "bari sukot lukai ami kaam nakoru (we will not hide in our backyard and operate subversively). We will openly discuss with the people and on their opinion our decision will be taken."

Addressing another public rally in Sibsagar, he appreciated the role of the National Convention of the state's intellectuals in initiating the peace dialogue. "

"We also want to sit for the discussions without preconditions.... but the final decision will be taken only after the arrival of our general secretary Anup Chetia".

Chetia is now imprisoned in Bangladesh. Rajkhowa said the Indian government should take an initiative for his return to Assam.

Rajkhowa said "since the inception of ULFA, the people of Assam have suffered for long and lead a miserable life either due to our arms struggle or the retaliatory anti-insurgency operations by the government and security forces".

"Considering the consensus among the people in the state and their miserable condition, we want to relieve them of their suffering. So we have decided to come forward for the peace parleys," the ULFA chief, who was flanked by vice chairman Pradip Gogoi by his side, said in the meeting.

After the meeting, he proceeded to his native place Lakhwa in the district that he had left 32 years ago to go underground.

In an emotionally charged atmosphere, Rakhowa met his bed-ridden 98-year-old mother Damayanti Rajkumari in his ancestral home and then paid homage at the samadhi of his freedom fighter father Uma Kanta Rajkonwar.

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