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PM to meet SJA leaders on ULFA talks

By Spl correspondent

NEW DELHI, June 15 � The ULFA peace process is likely to gather momentum in the coming days, with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh expected to meet the leaders of the Sanmilita Jatiya Abhibartan (SJA) shortly.

The Prime Minister expressed his willingness to meet the delegation when Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi called on him here this afternoon, ostensibly to discuss a host of issues including the ULFA peace process.

The Chief Minister today gave enough indications to suggest that the State Government was ready to move on to the next level of the peace process. He spoke about the need to draft the modalities for the peace process and possible involvement of former Director of Intelligence Bureau (DIB) PC Haldar, who is already working as a government interlocutor.

He is likely to be appointed as an interlocutor for the ULFA peace process as well.

On working out of the modalities, the Chief Minister said he discussed this with the Prime Minister. �First the modalities would have to be discussed before the actual talks get under way,� he stressed.

Talking to newsmen after his meeting with the Prime Minister, Gogoi said that he raised the issue of ULFA peace process and briefed him about the recent developments and also about the desire of the group led by Dr Hiren Gohain to meet him.

�The Prime Minister said he would be too happy to meet SJA. He clarified that he was not even aware that they wanted to meet him,� the Chief Minister explained.

It is learnt that SJA had faxed a letter to the Prime Minister�s Office seeking an appointment to meet him. However, lack of any response from the PMO led to resentment prompting the Chief Minister to intervene.

When asked whether the government proposed to involve SJA with the ULFA peace process, the Chief Minister said anybody who is willing to help would be involved. �If they help, definitely we will involve. Whosoever takes initiative would be involved,� he added.

The Chief Minister, however, declined to draw a time-line on holding the first round of negotiations with ULFA. He said they are yet to get any response from those who are outside the country. But he categorically ruled out the possibility of the Government waiting for a nod from ULFA military chief Paresh Barua.

�So far there is no positive signal from Paresh Barua,� he said replying to a question.

�We are trying to rope in as many people (ULFA cadres) as possible,� he said.

There are indications that apart from the top jailed leaders, ULFA cadres in several of the battalions based within and outside North-east have also sent signals to join the peace process. The Government is now trying to ascertain the ground realities before making the final move.

The Government is also in the process of discussing the issue of granting amnesty to the jailed leaders to enable them to come out and join the dialogue process. Though a few leaders like the vice-chairman Pradip Gogoi, Mithinga Daimary and others have been released, the State Government is treading on the issue cautiously.

The Chief Minister is also meeting Union Law Minister M Verappa Moily to consult about the legal position.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had recently authorised the Chief Minister to go ahead and take the initiative to start the peace process.

However, sources said the Centre and the State government have to weigh all options cautiously because releasing all the leaders of ULFA may send wrong diplomatic signals to Bangladesh, which facilitated the detention of the top leaders.

Though officially it has been stated that the ULFA and NDFB leaders surrendered before the BSF, the credit in fact goes to Bangladesh, which mounted a crackdown and detained the ULFA leaders.

Releasing all the leaders at one go might put off Dhaka, sources pointed out.

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PM to meet SJA leaders on ULFA talks

NEW DELHI, June 15 � The ULFA peace process is likely to gather momentum in the coming days, with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh expected to meet the leaders of the Sanmilita Jatiya Abhibartan (SJA) shortly.

The Prime Minister expressed his willingness to meet the delegation when Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi called on him here this afternoon, ostensibly to discuss a host of issues including the ULFA peace process.

The Chief Minister today gave enough indications to suggest that the State Government was ready to move on to the next level of the peace process. He spoke about the need to draft the modalities for the peace process and possible involvement of former Director of Intelligence Bureau (DIB) PC Haldar, who is already working as a government interlocutor.

He is likely to be appointed as an interlocutor for the ULFA peace process as well.

On working out of the modalities, the Chief Minister said he discussed this with the Prime Minister. �First the modalities would have to be discussed before the actual talks get under way,� he stressed.

Talking to newsmen after his meeting with the Prime Minister, Gogoi said that he raised the issue of ULFA peace process and briefed him about the recent developments and also about the desire of the group led by Dr Hiren Gohain to meet him.

�The Prime Minister said he would be too happy to meet SJA. He clarified that he was not even aware that they wanted to meet him,� the Chief Minister explained.

It is learnt that SJA had faxed a letter to the Prime Minister�s Office seeking an appointment to meet him. However, lack of any response from the PMO led to resentment prompting the Chief Minister to intervene.

When asked whether the government proposed to involve SJA with the ULFA peace process, the Chief Minister said anybody who is willing to help would be involved. �If they help, definitely we will involve. Whosoever takes initiative would be involved,� he added.

The Chief Minister, however, declined to draw a time-line on holding the first round of negotiations with ULFA. He said they are yet to get any response from those who are outside the country. But he categorically ruled out the possibility of the Government waiting for a nod from ULFA military chief Paresh Barua.

�So far there is no positive signal from Paresh Barua,� he said replying to a question.

�We are trying to rope in as many people (ULFA cadres) as possible,� he said.

There are indications that apart from the top jailed leaders, ULFA cadres in several of the battalions based within and outside North-east have also sent signals to join the peace process. The Government is now trying to ascertain the ground realities before making the final move.

The Government is also in the process of discussing the issue of granting amnesty to the jailed leaders to enable them to come out and join the dialogue process. Though a few leaders like the vice-chairman Pradip Gogoi, Mithinga Daimary and others have been released, the State Government is treading on the issue cautiously.

The Chief Minister is also meeting Union Law Minister M Verappa Moily to consult about the legal position.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had recently authorised the Chief Minister to go ahead and take the initiative to start the peace process.

However, sources said the Centre and the State government have to weigh all options cautiously because releasing all the leaders of ULFA may send wrong diplomatic signals to Bangladesh, which facilitated the detention of the top leaders.

Though officially it has been stated that the ULFA and NDFB leaders surrendered before the BSF, the credit in fact goes to Bangladesh, which mounted a crackdown and detained the ULFA leaders.

Releasing all the leaders at one go might put off Dhaka, sources pointed out.