Sushanta Talukdar

`Door for negotiations with ULFA open'

Good discussion with consultative groupNo trip to Pakistan for two to three months

GUWAHATI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday that extortion by any insurgent outfit will not be tolerated.

Such an act would negate the process of development, the Prime Minister said when asked to comment on the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) serving an extortion notice on the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation demanding Rs. 500 crore.

He, however, said that the door for negotiation with ULFA - without any preconditions - was always open.

Dr. Singh said that he had a "good discussion" with the People's Consultative Group formed by ULFA and that his Government would be happy to engage in further discussion.

Asked to comment on the Government's decision on the recommendation by the Armed Forces (Special Powers ) Act Review Committee, the Prime Minister said the Group of Ministers had been going through the report to find out the possibilities of softening the Act.

Asked if he would go to Pakistan to watch the cricket match there, Dr. Singh said he would not be able to do so for the next two to three months.

He had received an invitation to visit Pakistan and he would definitely go there at an appropriate time, Dr. Singh said.