GUWAHATI, Dec 12 - The commander-in-chief of the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent), Paresh Baruah will be totally isolated if ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia joins the peace process. This was the observation made by security analyst and former Director General of Assam Police, GM Srivastava.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Srivastava said that if Chetia joins the peace talks, Baruah would have no �big name� to go with him and he would be cornered. He said that according to information available with the security agencies, immediately after Chetia was brought back to India, Baruah started calling up middle-level members of the pro-talk faction of the ULFA and even some surrendered members of the outfit in a bid to gain their support. However, it is unlikely that Baruah would be able to get the support of any member of the pro-talk faction, he said.
Srivastava said that Chetia has political maturity and if he joins the talks, it would give a new thrust to the peace process. He pointed out that the armed wing of the outfit started becoming more powerful after Chetia was arrested in Bangladesh. It is believed that Chetia was arrested in the neighbouring country following a leak from inside the outfit, he added.
The former DGP also pointed out that under the present circumstances, it would be difficult for Paresh Baruah to come for talks even if he wants to do so because of several factors. The first reason is that Baruah would lose his prominence in the outfit if he joins the peace process as he would have to follow the hierarchy of the ULFA. The second point is that a Bangladesh court has already convicted Baruah in an arms haul case and if he decides to come for talks, there is every possibility of the neighbouring country seeking his custody. Bangladesh has already handed over Chetia following a request from India. Now India would have to hand over Baruah to Bangladesh if he comes for talks, Srivastava said.
Though it is still not known whether Chetia will join the peace process, the Centre�s interlocutor for talks with ULFA, PC Haldar recently met Chetia at the Guwahati Central Jail for a discussion with him. The pro-talk leaders of the ULFA, who had detailed talks with Chetia in jail, however, expressed confidence that Chetia would join the peace process.
Meanwhile, sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that the Government is hopeful of Chetia joining the peace process. The sources revealed that Chetia�s activities in Bangladesh were kept under surveillance for some time before he was brought back to India. �The Government did not get any indication that Chetia might join the hardline faction and that is why, a decision was taken to bring him back,� the sources added.