Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Thursday said he could neither confirm nor deny any information on the whereabouts of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa.
There were encouraging signals on peace talks with the outfit and things were moving in the right direction. There might be some good news within the next few days or a few hours, he said at a press conference here.
The Chief Minister said only the Union government knew the whereabouts of Mr. Rajkhowa. “Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram spoke to me on Wednesday but he did not give any details. Neither did I seek any.” The State government was ready to take any action, including the release of the jailed ULFA leaders, to facilitate peace talks.
Is he in favour of peace talks minus the outfit’s self styled commander-in-chief Paresh Barua?
Mr. Gogoi said the government would be happy if Barua came. But talks without Barua would still be a step towards the main target. He hoped all ULFA leaders, including Barua, would realise thatthe people wanted an end to mindless violence. Barua had shifted his base and was somewhere on the Myanmar-China border.
Meanwhile, jailed ULFA leaders — vice-chairman Pradip Gogoi, cultural secretary Pranati Deka and the former publicity secretary, Mithinga Daimary — ruled out any peace talks with the government without including the sovereignty issue.