The outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) or ULFA (I) favours Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma as the mediator for a possible peace talks with the Central government.
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The ULFA (I) had declared a three-month ceasefire in May . It was extended to another three months.
“We won’t mind if the Government of India appoints him [Sarma] as the mediator. He is capable, knows our history and we have seen his intent for resolving the conflict,” the outfit’s chief, Paresh Baruah, told a local news channel.
He said any “Indian” [person beyond Assam or the Northeast] appointed as a mediator would not know “our history” and 42 years of struggle for the sovereignty of Assam.
Baruah, who reconstituted the outfit a few days ago to appoint himself as the chairman, said the ULFA (I) had always kept its doors open.
“Former CMs Hiteswar Saikia, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and Tarun Gogoi made some efforts but they did not work out. The government later divided us,” he said.
This was in reference to August 2012 split in the outfit into the pro-talks group led by ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and the anti-talks group that Baruah headed. The latter was later called ULFA-I.
Baruah is said to be based on the Myanmar-China border while most members of his outfit are sheltered in the camps of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplant-Yung Aung) in Myanmar’s Sagaing Division.