Centre expresses willingness to hold talks with ULFA
Guwahati: In a fresh attempt to break the deadlock in the peace initiative between the Centre and the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), Assamese writer Indira Goswami on Thursday said the Nagarik Santi Mancha, Assam, of which she is president, would soon send an appeal to the outfit urging it to send a communiqué to the Government expressing its willingness to hold talks.
Dr. Goswami told reporters here that Delhi responded positively and expressed its willingness to hold a dialogue with the ULFA after the Mancha had submitted its memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Shivraj Patil on June 8-9.
The Centre however, insisted that ULFA chief Paresh Barua or the outfit’s chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa send a communiqué expressing the willingness to hold a dialogue. Delhi also indicated its willingness to hold talks with an emissary appointed by the ULFA from among its leaders, she said.
The Mancha has been preparing the appeal to be sent to the ULFA leadership based on the Centre’s stand.
In its memorandum, the Mancha urged the Union Government not to treat the three issues raised by the ULFA – a discussion on the issue of “Assam’s sovereignty,” release of five jailed leaders and information on the whereabouts of the ULFA leaders who went missing during the crackdown on the outfit by the Royal Bhutan Army – as hindrances to initiating peace talks with the outfit and demanded resumption of the peace initiative.
One of the Mancha advisers Suchibrata Roy Choudhury said the Mancha represents only the peace loving people of Assam who were seeking a dialogue between the ULFA and the government and that it did not represent either the ULFA or the government.