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Crucial tripartite talks with ULFA today

By Spl Correspondent
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NEW DELHI, Nov 23 - Amidst high expectations, pro-talks leaders of the ULFA will meet Home Ministry and Assam Government officials for a crucial round of tripartite talks here on Tuesday.

Though ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia is unlikely to join the talks tomorrow, the pro-talk leaders are expected to formally seek a meeting with him. The official-level talks to be chaired by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, who took over recently, is likely to see the pro-talk leaders ask for a timeframe for signing of the Memorandum of Settlement.

As reported, the draft accord is under preparation and the relevant file is now pending release at the Prime Minister�s Office (PMO).

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju recently told newsmen that the Centre is about to wind up negotiations with the pro-talk group of ULFA and the ball now is in the Prime Minister�s court.

The issue of according Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the six communities, which is the prime demand of the ULFA, is also linked with the larger national tribal policy and hence taking time, he said.

The pro-talk group is anxious about the Centre�s next move. In September, ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa had threatened to abandon the peace process and take an �alternative path� if the Centre fails to resolve their problems by November 30.

Rajkhowa had alleged that the BJP Government at the Centre was quite apathetic to the demands raised by the pro-talk faction of the ULFA.

Rajkhowa and his associates have held only one round of talks with the BJP-led Government, i.e., on May 15, when a delegation of ULFA (pro-talk group) had met Home Minister Rajnath Singh and other Home Ministry officials.

Meanwhile, pro-talk sources said that they were expecting to meet Anup Chetia, but were baffled with the silence maintained by the Centre.

Sources said that Chetia�s participation in the dialogue process will only legitimise the peace process and not necessarily bring about any qualitative change.

If Chetia joins the peace process then it will be legitimised more than the existing one,� said the leader.

Chetia was deported to India on November 11 by Bangladesh, where he was arrested in 1997. He is currently in judicial custody.

The Government agencies are seeking additional written clarification from Chetia stating whether he wanted to participate in the talks, said sources, adding that they were unaware about the latest position.

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Crucial tripartite talks with ULFA today

NEW DELHI, Nov 23 - Amidst high expectations, pro-talks leaders of the ULFA will meet Home Ministry and Assam Government officials for a crucial round of tripartite talks here on Tuesday.

Though ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia is unlikely to join the talks tomorrow, the pro-talk leaders are expected to formally seek a meeting with him. The official-level talks to be chaired by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, who took over recently, is likely to see the pro-talk leaders ask for a timeframe for signing of the Memorandum of Settlement.

As reported, the draft accord is under preparation and the relevant file is now pending release at the Prime Minister�s Office (PMO).

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju recently told newsmen that the Centre is about to wind up negotiations with the pro-talk group of ULFA and the ball now is in the Prime Minister�s court.

The issue of according Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the six communities, which is the prime demand of the ULFA, is also linked with the larger national tribal policy and hence taking time, he said.

The pro-talk group is anxious about the Centre�s next move. In September, ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa had threatened to abandon the peace process and take an �alternative path� if the Centre fails to resolve their problems by November 30.

Rajkhowa had alleged that the BJP Government at the Centre was quite apathetic to the demands raised by the pro-talk faction of the ULFA.

Rajkhowa and his associates have held only one round of talks with the BJP-led Government, i.e., on May 15, when a delegation of ULFA (pro-talk group) had met Home Minister Rajnath Singh and other Home Ministry officials.

Meanwhile, pro-talk sources said that they were expecting to meet Anup Chetia, but were baffled with the silence maintained by the Centre.

Sources said that Chetia�s participation in the dialogue process will only legitimise the peace process and not necessarily bring about any qualitative change.

If Chetia joins the peace process then it will be legitimised more than the existing one,� said the leader.

Chetia was deported to India on November 11 by Bangladesh, where he was arrested in 1997. He is currently in judicial custody.

The Government agencies are seeking additional written clarification from Chetia stating whether he wanted to participate in the talks, said sources, adding that they were unaware about the latest position.

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