Sushanta Talukdar

Guwahati: United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) vice-chairman Pradip Gogoi was released on bail from Guwahati Central Jail on Thursday night which temporarily ended his nearly 12- year -long detention.

Immediately after coming out of the jail, the top ULFA leader told journalists that in principle the outfit was in favour of resolving the 30- year-old conflict through peaceful political dialogue and that he sought the cooperation of both the Central and State governments in that regard.

Mr. Gogoi was arrested on April 8, 1998, in Kolkata by the West Bengal Police and later handed over to the Assam Police and lodged in the Central Jail here since then.

The freed ULFA vice-chairman demanded unconditional release of other jailed leaders including its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and ideologue Bhimkanta Buragohain alias Mama. He also sought cooperation of all sections of the people of Assam for carrying forward the process of political dialogue with the government.

A host of family members, close relatives and friends greeted the ULFA leader with flowers and traditional Assamese Gamocha. He was whisked away by security forces after a brief interaction with journalists and others who were waiting outside the jail premises for hours together

The Designated TADA Court here had granted bail to the ULFA leader along with the outfit's Central Publicity Secretary Mithinga Daimary on February 23. Mr Daimary was released on February 25.