GUWAHATI, Dec 19 - Spiritual guru and founder of the Art of Living Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is welcome to mediate for talks if he can convince the Government of India to discuss the issue of sovereignty of Assam, said the commander-in-chief of the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent), Paresh Baruah alias Paresh Asom.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Baruah said that he has been in touch with the spiritual guru for the past seven years. He revealed that during the last visit of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to the State, he had a 45-minute discussion over phone and made it clear that the ULFA(I) is not against talks with the Government of India, but the talks should be held on the core issue of sovereignty of Assam.
Giving details of the discussion with the Art of Living founder, Baruah said that the spiritual guru tried to persuade him to come for talks with the Government. �He told me that with Narendra Modi heading the Government at the Centre, it is the best possible time for us to come for talks for a permanent solution to our issues. He also said that we may have to wait for another 100 years for a permanent solution if we do not come for talks. However, I made it clear that there is no question of talking on other issues if the Government of India does not discuss the core issue and we are ready to wait for 100 years instead of giving up on our ideology,� he added.
Baruah said that the spiritual guru made the best efforts to persuade the ULFA(I) to come for talks and even tried to reason that the Modi Government would fall if it agrees to talk on sovereignty. He also pointed out that talking with the ULFA(I) on the issue of sovereignty would open a Pandora�s box and there would be similar demands from Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Nagaland, Manipur, etc. �But we made it clear to him that there is no question of talking without discussing the core issue. I also told him that as a guest he is welcome to visit Assam and we appreciate his efforts to mediate. But if he cannot persuade the Government to hold talks on the core issue, there is no point of talking with him,� Baruah added.
The ULFA(I) leader further said that anyone is welcome to mediate for talks if he or she can persuade the Government to hold talks on the core issue.