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Centre rejects ULFA's talks offer

New Delhi Dec. 28. The Centre today rejected the banned United Liberation Front of Asom(ULFA)'s offer of talks as it was laying down conditions. It asserted that the pro-active policy against the insurgents, who have been "demoralised" after the flush-out operations in Bhutan would continue.

"There cannot be talks with pre-conditions," the Minister of State for Home, I.D. Swami, said reacting to the reported offer of the ULFA commander-in chief, Paresh Baruah, on Saturday wherein the latter wanted a "neutral third party, a nation state" to act as a facilitator and discuss the outfit's main demand for sovereignty.

Emphasising that the Government in-principle was ready for talks with any insurgent group which laid down arms and did not put forward any conditions, the Minister said:

"There is no question of any compromise on the sovereignty and integrity of the country."

Speaking to reporters after taking the salute at the CRPF's 64th Raising Day ceremony here, Mr. Swami referred to the Assam Government's offer of amnesty to the insurgents. He hoped the ULFA would respond to it and join the mainstream.

He said New Delhi was thankful to the Bhutan Government for undertaking the crackdown. "The action is in the interest of both the countries," he said.

ULFA seeks Chinese help

The ULFA today sought "Chinese help and shelter" for the fleeing militants, who were being driven out by the Bhutanese Army.

In an e-mail statement, the ULFA pleaded on behalf of the Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), the National Democratic Front of Bodoland(NDFB), and the Arunachal Dragon Force seeking "sanctuary and shelter" for their cadres, "who are struggling to survive in sub-zero temperature."

Through the e-mail, the ULFA chairman, Aurobindo Rajkhowa, said: "At this moment, they [rebels] have no option but to enter the territory of the People's Republic of China extra-legally to save their lives. We would like to request you and your people to permit them safe passage to your territory and minimum temporary hospitality necessary for their survival."

43 militants handed over to police

Forty-three ULFA militants, captured by the Royal Bhutan Army, have been handed over to the Assam police through the Indian Army, official sources said in Nalbari.

Thirty-two were handed over by the Army to the Tamulpur police station in Nalbari district late last night. They were produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, who remanded them to three days' police custody

Five ULFA militants were handed over to the Borbori police last night and were produced before the Nalbari Chief Judicial Magistrate who remanded them to five days' police custody. The militants had also laid down 35 AK-56 rifles, two UMGs, three landmines, 1900 live ammunition of AK-56 and Rs. 1 lakh in cash.

Six ULFA militants, who had surrendered after fleeing from Bhutan, were today handed over by the Army to the police in Harisingha police station of Darrang district.


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