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Centre keen on early completion of talks with ULFA, NDFB

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, June 10 - The Government of India is keen on early completion of the talks with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and two factions of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB). However, the government has not received any indication from the ULFA(I) and the NDFB(S) expressing their desire to come for talks.

Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that the talks with the ULFA are progressing satisfactorily and the government is hoping to sign an agreement with the outfit soon. However, till date, no date has been finalised for the signing of the peace accord and the government is hopeful that both sides would come to an understanding on most of the issues listed in the charter of demands of the militant outfit.

Though a section of the ULFA leaders have issued statements before the media threatening to walk out of the peace talks if the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is passed, sources said no such threat has been issued by the outfit in its meetings with the Central government�s interlocutor. Sources also refused to go into details of the issues raised by the ULFA and said �all the issues will be made public immediately after a formal agreement is reached�.

Replying to a question on whether the government is keen on involving Paresh Baruah, the commander-in-chief of the ULFA(I) in the peace process, sources said so far, the government has not received any feeler from the militant leader expressing his desire to join the peace talks. The government�s stand is very clear on the issue of talks with the militant outfit.

The doors of the government are still open for the militant outfits which want to come for talks. But the talks must be held within the framework of the Constitution of India. �We know that Paresh Baruah is in touch with a cross section of people of Assam, but so far, he has not expressed his desire to come for talks. The leaders of the ULFA have also not been able to give any assurance to bring him to the negotiation table,� sources added.

Two factions of the NDFB are also talking with the government and sources described the progress as �satisfactory� and hoped that a final agreement would be reached soon. At this moment, the government is talking separately with both the NDFB(R) and the NDFB (Progressive) separately. But ultimately, efforts would be made to bring both factions together so that one agreement with both the factions can be signed, sources added.

The government has not received any feeler from the leaders of the NDFB(S) expressing their desire to join the peace process. Though hardcore NDFB(S) militant G Bidai had once sent a feeler to the government expressing his desire to come overground, the offer was rejected as it was believed that he had sent the feeler only because of the sustained pressure that he was facing from police and security forces. There has been no feeler from the central leaders of the outfit who are now in Myanmar, sources added.

On the allegations of violation of the ground rules of ceasefire agreements by some members of the militant groups, which are holding talks with the Government of India, sources said it is the responsibility of the ceasefire monitoring committees to ensure that each of the points of the agreements is strictly adhered to by every member of the outfits. The State government has to play the key role in this regard and take action against anyone found to be violating any point of the ground rules, sources added.

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