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Peace talks moving at slow pace

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, March 28 � The Assam Government will have to take the lead role in early completion of talks with militant groups of the State, which already signed cease-fire agreements for peaceful solution of the problems. The Centre can only play the role of facilitator.

Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that the Centre has a very limited role in the process of talks with the militant groups like pro-talk faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB), United People�s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS), Karbi Longri NC Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF) and both the factions of DHD.

Sources said that the Centre has a major role to play whenever there is need for deciding issues like creation of separate state. But in case of the militant groups of Assam, the Centre has already ruled out the possibility of division of Assam and asked the militant groups to seek solution of the problems within the geographical bound-aries of the State. Moreover, there is no need for amending the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution as was the case with talks with the Bodo Liberation Tiger (BLT) as the areas to which the militant groups belong are already under the Sixth Schedule.

Sources pointed out that if the matter of providing special development packages come up for discussion, only then the role of the Centre comes into the fore and the Centre would be willing to provide additional funds for the purpose in the interest of solution of the problems and for the development of the backward areas.

Reorganisation of the district boundaries or renaming may be required for settling the demands of the militant groups and the Assam Government would have to take a decision for the same as the Centre has a very limited role in this regard, sources added.

It may be mentioned here that the State Government recently announced in the State Assembly that a group of Ministers would be formed to study the demands of the UPDS.

Meanwhile, sources said that the Centre is not keen on dragging the talks for a long period and as the demands of the groups are inter-linked, the Centre has appointed former Intelligence Bureau Director PC Haldar as an interlocutor to talk with the groups. At present he was talking separately with the leaders of the groups, but in a later stage efforts would be made to bring them together to the negotiation table. But early solution of the issues would depend mostly on the Assam Government, sources added.

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Peace talks moving at slow pace

GUWAHATI, March 28 � The Assam Government will have to take the lead role in early completion of talks with militant groups of the State, which already signed cease-fire agreements for peaceful solution of the problems. The Centre can only play the role of facilitator.

Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that the Centre has a very limited role in the process of talks with the militant groups like pro-talk faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB), United People�s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS), Karbi Longri NC Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF) and both the factions of DHD.

Sources said that the Centre has a major role to play whenever there is need for deciding issues like creation of separate state. But in case of the militant groups of Assam, the Centre has already ruled out the possibility of division of Assam and asked the militant groups to seek solution of the problems within the geographical bound-aries of the State. Moreover, there is no need for amending the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution as was the case with talks with the Bodo Liberation Tiger (BLT) as the areas to which the militant groups belong are already under the Sixth Schedule.

Sources pointed out that if the matter of providing special development packages come up for discussion, only then the role of the Centre comes into the fore and the Centre would be willing to provide additional funds for the purpose in the interest of solution of the problems and for the development of the backward areas.

Reorganisation of the district boundaries or renaming may be required for settling the demands of the militant groups and the Assam Government would have to take a decision for the same as the Centre has a very limited role in this regard, sources added.

It may be mentioned here that the State Government recently announced in the State Assembly that a group of Ministers would be formed to study the demands of the UPDS.

Meanwhile, sources said that the Centre is not keen on dragging the talks for a long period and as the demands of the groups are inter-linked, the Centre has appointed former Intelligence Bureau Director PC Haldar as an interlocutor to talk with the groups. At present he was talking separately with the leaders of the groups, but in a later stage efforts would be made to bring them together to the negotiation table. But early solution of the issues would depend mostly on the Assam Government, sources added.