National

ULFA-I declares 3-month ceasefire

Paresh Baruah, ULFA-I’s self-styled commander-in-chief. File  

The outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) has declared a three-month unilateral ceasefire with immediate effect.

The announcement on Saturday came less than a week after Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma appealed to the extremist groups in Assam to shun violence and pursue peace talks.

Paresh Baruah, the outfit’s self-styled commander-in-chief said in an Assamese statement that the COVID-19 situation prompted the ULFA-I to “unilaterally suspend all military operations in Assam for three months from May 15”.

Charge against security forces

He accused the Indian security forces as well as the Assam police of hatching “some clandestine plan to malign” his outfit. This was in reference to two grenade blasts that killed three people, including a 12-year-old boy in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district within four days.

This is the second instance of the anti-talks faction of the ULFA declaring a unilateral ceasefire. The outfit had in 2005 suspended operations to facilitate a team of mediators headed by the late author Mamoni Raisom Goswami to broker a peace deal.

The team was called the People’s Consultative Group.

Abductions

Security forces had stepped up pressure on the ULFA-I after it abducted two employees of a private oil drilling firm in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh on December 21, 2020. The two were released after almost four months.

On April 21, members of the outfit abducted three employees of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited from an oil rig in eastern Assam’s Charaideo district. Two of them were rescued after an encounter in Nagaland’s Mon district on April 23 but the third – Ritul Saikia – is still missing.

The ULFA was formed in 1979 to fight for a sovereign Assam. It split into the pro-talks and anti-talks group three decades later.

The pro-talks group is headed by the outfit’s chairman, Arabinda Rajkhowa.


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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 4:30:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ulfa-i-declares-3-month-ceasefire/article34564548.ece

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