Arrested United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) leaders — self-styled Foreign Secretary Sashadhar Choudhury and Finance Secretary Chitraban Hazarika — on Tuesday said the outfit chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa was authorised to announce the position on holding of peace talks with the Government of India. Talks could be possible only when the government showed its sincerity and willingness, they said.
The statement came hours after suspected ULFA militants blew up 16 wagons of a train carrying petrol and diesel from the Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) in Golaghat district on Monday night. The train was heading to Panki in Uttar Pradesh. The blast damaged about 300 metres of the track, resulting in disruption of rail services.
The ULFA leaders made the statement on the premises of the Chief Judicial Magistrate court here when journalists sought their opinion. The two, who were arrested in Dhaka and later handed over to the Border Security Force, were produced in the court after the expiry of 10-day police remand. Their remand was extended to 10 more days.
On Monday night, suspected ULFA militants blew up 16 railway wagons carrying diesel from the NRL by triggering a blast on the track between Bhilgaon and Barpothar stations in Golaghat district. Fire broke out following an explosion at 9.10 p.m. It was extinguished on Tuesday afternoon.
Deputy General Manager (Marketing), NRL, A.K. Bhattacharya, told The Hindu that there were 48 wagons — 8 containing petrol and 40 carrying diesel. Twelve wagons were destroyed in the fire that broke out while the fuel in four wagons that got derailed burnt out.