GUWAHATI, June 19 � After nearly a decade of dialogues, the peace process with militant outfit United People�s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) is in the final stage and a formal agreement is likely to be signed shortly to give more powers to the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, the Joint Secretary (North East) of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Shambhu Singh, who was in Guwahati to hold dialogues with the UPDS leaders, said that in addition to political issues, he also discussed issues like maintaining the ground rules of cease-fire agreement, keeping all the cadres of the outfit under control etc. It may be mentioned here that the MHA delegation also met Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi this afternoon to discuss the issues relating to dialogues with the militant groups.
Singh said that the Centre is also keen on expediting the peace talks with the militant groups as only signing of cease-fire agreements would not solve the problems. Additional manpower is also being utilized for keeping an eye on the members of the militant groups under cease-fire agreement and this manpower can be utilized elsewhere once formal agreements are signed with those outfits.
The MHA official revealed that the Government is on the verge of signing a formal agreement with the UPDS. Though he did not divulge the details agreed upon by the UPDS and Government, he said that more powers would be given under the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India. He said that more subjects would be handed over to the Autonomous Council. It may be mentioned here that the UPDS was earlier demanding creation of a separate state.
Singh revealed that as another militant outfit of Karbi Anglong, KLNLF, which is also under cease-fire agreement with the Government, efforts are on to bring both the groups at the negotiation table together as the area of operation of both the groups is similar. He said that the Government has requested the KLNLF to sign the memorandum of settlement together with the UPDS as �that is the best solution they can have under the present circumstances.� He further said that the Assam Government is also sympathetic to the issues raised by the UPDS and KLNLF and the Chief Minister made it clear that he is not opposed to giving more powers to the Autonomous Council.
The MHA official said that the same principle can be followed for solution of the issues raised by both factions of the DHD. Talks with both factions of the DHD are progressing well and there is every possibility of release of DHD (J) Chief Jewel Garlosa on bail shortly.
However, Singh admitted that there is one major issue that needs to be settled before signing of agreements with both factions of the DHD. He pointed out that around 60 percent of the population of NC Hills are non-Dimasa and �the Government will have to take all sections of people of the district together while signing an agreement with the DHD factions.�
Meanwhile, a team of the MHA headed by Singh met Chief Minister this afternoon to discuss various issues relating to talks with militant groups. The Chief Minister asked the MHA officials to prepare the ground rules for talks with the ULFA and other militant groups. The MHA team appraised the Chief Minister about the developments in the peace talks with the militant groups.