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Central committee should decide: Dr Gohain

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, May 4 � The steering committee formed by the April 24 Sanmilita Jatio Abhibartan (United National Convention) said today that the ULFA central committee could only decide whether or not the militant outfit would sit with the Government of India for negotiation without its commander-in-chief Paresh Barua. Moreover, it is also up to the central committee of the militant outfit to take a decision on whether or not the issue of sovereignty would be there on the agenda of the outfit�s negotiation with the Union Government.

Addressing a press conference here this afternoon, Dr Hiren Gohain of the steering committee said, �We have called the attention of the Government of India to the widespread sentiment of the people of Assam that the issue of sovereignty could be discussed at the negotiating table. Hence, the steering committee has called for unconditional talks between the two sides and has appealed for creation of conditions favourable to such talks.�

He, however, clarified that it did not necessarily mean that the issue of sovereignty should be on the agenda of discussion. But, there should not be any bar to bringing it up.

Dr Gohain also said that the steering committee was not slapping any pre-condition for the negotiation. It has raised the matter of release of the arrested ULFA leaders being guided by sanity. It should not be read otherwise, he said.

Besides, he said, the steering committee or the April 24 convention for that matter, had not asked for rescinding the legal process against the arrested ULFA leaders.

The participants of the April 24 convention and the steering committee formed by it had laid stress only on release of the detained ULFA leaders to facilitate the process of negotiation and stalling the legal course of action against them until the negotiation process is complete. It was a matter of common sense that no discussion could be fruitful if held with the detained leaders, Dr Gohain said.

When asked to be categorical on the issue of holding negotiation with ULFA sans its commander-in-chief Paresh Barua, Dr Gohain said that if both the ULFA central committee and the Union Government resolve to hold the negotiation without Barua, the steering committee has nothing to object.

Again, stating that he was personally against secession of Assam from the Indian Union, Dr Gohain said that if the issues connected with the ULFA demand for sovereign Assam could be resolved otherwise, ULFA should give up the demand. The Government should also adopt a give-and-take approach on such issues, he said.

When pointed out to the fact that a section of the ULFA leaders gave the authorities a slip in the early 1990s when they were freed to facilitate the negotiation process with the Government, Dr Gohain said that in case the ULFA leaders play the same game, the steering committee would condemn and expose them before the people.

When asked to comment on the possibility of the ruling party using the issue of negotiation with ULFA to promote its electoral prospects in the 2011 Assembly elections, Dr Gohain said that the steering committee would disapprove of such acts.

The finalized resolutions of the April 24 convention were also released to the media on the occasion. The draft resolutions of the convention were given final shape after the suggestions received from the people from various parts of the State were taken into consideration. However, there was no major change effected to the draft resolutions of the convention while finalizing them, Dr Gohain said.

As per the suggestion of the convention to help the ULFA leaders in raising the issues purposefully, seven expert committees have been formed. The committees include the ones on state system and constitution, economic development and employment opportunities, financial matters, land and natural resources conservation and utilisation, security of the indigenous people and influx of foreign nationals, education policy and development of human resources and rights of the ethnic groups etc. These committees will supply ULFA leaders objective and in-depth suggestions on the above issues, Dr Gohain said.

Other members of the steering committee Khursed Alam, Indibor Deuri, Rohini Barua, Ratneswar Basumatary, Dr Indira (Mamoni Roisom) Goswami, Hiranya Kumar Bhattacharyya, Dr Nirmal Kumar Choudhury, Dilip Patgiri and Lachit Bordoloi were also present on the occasion.

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Central committee should decide: Dr Gohain

GUWAHATI, May 4 � The steering committee formed by the April 24 Sanmilita Jatio Abhibartan (United National Convention) said today that the ULFA central committee could only decide whether or not the militant outfit would sit with the Government of India for negotiation without its commander-in-chief Paresh Barua. Moreover, it is also up to the central committee of the militant outfit to take a decision on whether or not the issue of sovereignty would be there on the agenda of the outfit�s negotiation with the Union Government.

Addressing a press conference here this afternoon, Dr Hiren Gohain of the steering committee said, �We have called the attention of the Government of India to the widespread sentiment of the people of Assam that the issue of sovereignty could be discussed at the negotiating table. Hence, the steering committee has called for unconditional talks between the two sides and has appealed for creation of conditions favourable to such talks.�

He, however, clarified that it did not necessarily mean that the issue of sovereignty should be on the agenda of discussion. But, there should not be any bar to bringing it up.

Dr Gohain also said that the steering committee was not slapping any pre-condition for the negotiation. It has raised the matter of release of the arrested ULFA leaders being guided by sanity. It should not be read otherwise, he said.

Besides, he said, the steering committee or the April 24 convention for that matter, had not asked for rescinding the legal process against the arrested ULFA leaders.

The participants of the April 24 convention and the steering committee formed by it had laid stress only on release of the detained ULFA leaders to facilitate the process of negotiation and stalling the legal course of action against them until the negotiation process is complete. It was a matter of common sense that no discussion could be fruitful if held with the detained leaders, Dr Gohain said.

When asked to be categorical on the issue of holding negotiation with ULFA sans its commander-in-chief Paresh Barua, Dr Gohain said that if both the ULFA central committee and the Union Government resolve to hold the negotiation without Barua, the steering committee has nothing to object.

Again, stating that he was personally against secession of Assam from the Indian Union, Dr Gohain said that if the issues connected with the ULFA demand for sovereign Assam could be resolved otherwise, ULFA should give up the demand. The Government should also adopt a give-and-take approach on such issues, he said.

When pointed out to the fact that a section of the ULFA leaders gave the authorities a slip in the early 1990s when they were freed to facilitate the negotiation process with the Government, Dr Gohain said that in case the ULFA leaders play the same game, the steering committee would condemn and expose them before the people.

When asked to comment on the possibility of the ruling party using the issue of negotiation with ULFA to promote its electoral prospects in the 2011 Assembly elections, Dr Gohain said that the steering committee would disapprove of such acts.

The finalized resolutions of the April 24 convention were also released to the media on the occasion. The draft resolutions of the convention were given final shape after the suggestions received from the people from various parts of the State were taken into consideration. However, there was no major change effected to the draft resolutions of the convention while finalizing them, Dr Gohain said.

As per the suggestion of the convention to help the ULFA leaders in raising the issues purposefully, seven expert committees have been formed. The committees include the ones on state system and constitution, economic development and employment opportunities, financial matters, land and natural resources conservation and utilisation, security of the indigenous people and influx of foreign nationals, education policy and development of human resources and rights of the ethnic groups etc. These committees will supply ULFA leaders objective and in-depth suggestions on the above issues, Dr Gohain said.

Other members of the steering committee Khursed Alam, Indibor Deuri, Rohini Barua, Ratneswar Basumatary, Dr Indira (Mamoni Roisom) Goswami, Hiranya Kumar Bhattacharyya, Dr Nirmal Kumar Choudhury, Dilip Patgiri and Lachit Bordoloi were also present on the occasion.