Giving a fresh impetus to the ongoing peace process, the government will hold talks with the banned ULFA on Tuesday with an aim of finding a lasting solution to Assam’s three-decade-old insurgency problem.
Top ULFA leaders will discuss with government representatives various aspects of the group’s ‘charter of demands’ which sought amendment in the Constitution for finding “meaningful” ways to protect the rights and identity of the indigenous people of Assam.
Observance of ground rules, signed by both sides, surrender of arms and ammunition and total halt of operations by security forces against the pro-talk faction are other key issues which are expected to be discussed, official sources said.
The ULFA team, led by its ‘chairman’ Arabinda Rajkhowa, and representatives of Central and Assam governments, including Interlocutor P.C. Halder, are also expected to deliberate in detail on various aspects of the ground rules of the Suspension of Operations.
Before the formal talks on October 25, both sides are likely to hold informal talks to acquit themselves with each other’s views.
Members of the rebel group - numbering around 600 - are now put in special camps, which will be called as ‘Nabanirman Kendras’
In its ‘charter of demands’, the ULFA also demanded change of rules and law and said a solution to their demands was not possible under the provisions of the existing Constitution.
Among other demands of the group are discussion on grounds for “ULFA’s struggle and their genuineness”, status report on missing ULFA leaders and cadres - numbering around 50 - including those missing since 2005 when the Bhutan government conducted offensives and other socio-economic issues.
The ULFA has entered into formal peace talks with the government after a 32-year-old violent insurgency movement. On September 3, the group had signed the ‘Suspension of Operation’ pact with the government.
Mr. Rajkhowa led an eight-member team during introductory talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram in February.
ULFA’s elusive ‘commander-in-chief’ Paresh Baruah is still opposed to any dialogue with the government till ’sovereignty’ issue is not on the table.