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PM�s green signal for ULFA talks

By Spl correspondent

NEW DELHI, June 21 � In a positive development, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh today agreed to facilitate talks with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) for restoration of permanent peace in the State. The Prime Minister conveyed the same to a six-member delegation of the steering committee of the Sanmilita Jatiya Abhibartan, which called on him this evening.

Talking to newsmen after the meeting with the Prime Minister, spokesman of the committee Dr Hiren Gohain said that Dr Singh gave a patient hearing to the issues raised by the delegation during the 45-minute discussion and �we have come out convinced that the Prime Minister means business�.

Dr Gohain said that during the meeting, the delegation raised the issue of release of the jailed ULFA leaders to facilitate talks. It was also conveyed to the Prime Minister that the leaders of the ULFA were not rigid on the issue of sovereignty, he added.

The Prime Minister sought the help of the members of the steering committee to ensure restoration of permanent peace in the State and suggested that they should also discuss the issue with the Union Home Minister.

Earlier, making a strong case for release of the jailed outlawed ULFA leaders, convener of Sanmilita Jatiya Abhibartan (SJA), Dr Hiren Gohain hinting at the possibility of the militant outfit dropping its demand for sovereignty, said military chief of the outfit Paresh Barua might be marginalised, if he does not participate in the negotiation process.

A six-member delegation of the civil society group that arrived in the national capital on Saturday, had to pass through some anxious moments on Monday morning, when the Prime Minister�s Office postponed the scheduled meeting at the last hour. Dr Manmohan Singh reportedly had to undergo some medical check-ups and his morning engagements were rescheduled. The team was later given an appointment at 6.45 pm at the Prime Minister�s 7 Race Course Road Residence.

The delegation is scheduled to meet Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, leaders of all political parties including Opposition Leader Sushma Swaraj, among others. Other members of the delegation included former Vice-Chancellor, Gauhati University,

Dr Nirmal Kumar Chaudhuri, Dr Rohini Barua, Hiranya Bhattacharya, Indibar Deuri and Prof. Khorshed Alam, among others.

Meanwhile, addressing newsmen at the Press Club of India, Dr Gohain replying to questions on relevance of the proposed dialogue without the presence of Paresh Barua, opined that he may be marginalised, if he does not come for the talks. He is a member of the ULFA central committee and has to work as a member.

If the central committee manages to resolve the vexed problems then Barua would be marginalised, even if he does not come for talks, he added.

Dr Gohain said that though ULFA has not formally dropped the demand for sovereignty, a tricky issue that has stalled the peace process, they are certainly willing to tone down their demand.

�We met jailed ULFA leaders and they are getting prepared to abandon their armed struggle and we are also trying to persuade them to drop the demand for sovereignty,� Dr Gohain said.

On the fate of Anup Chetia, Dr Gohain said that he has been given to understand that efforts are on to get him to India but there is a human rights case pending in Bangladesh. He is apparently willing to come and in favour of talks, he added.

On the issue of illegal migration from Bangladesh, Dr Gohain said that though they do believe in secularism but many of the districts of the State all of a sudden have become Muslim majority. Illegal infiltration is a major problem, which the government has to solve, he added.

Replying to questions about grant of work permit, he opined that it may be considered, if the illegal migrants are not allowed to settle down in Assam.

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PM�s green signal for ULFA talks

NEW DELHI, June 21 � In a positive development, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh today agreed to facilitate talks with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) for restoration of permanent peace in the State. The Prime Minister conveyed the same to a six-member delegation of the steering committee of the Sanmilita Jatiya Abhibartan, which called on him this evening.

Talking to newsmen after the meeting with the Prime Minister, spokesman of the committee Dr Hiren Gohain said that Dr Singh gave a patient hearing to the issues raised by the delegation during the 45-minute discussion and �we have come out convinced that the Prime Minister means business�.

Dr Gohain said that during the meeting, the delegation raised the issue of release of the jailed ULFA leaders to facilitate talks. It was also conveyed to the Prime Minister that the leaders of the ULFA were not rigid on the issue of sovereignty, he added.

The Prime Minister sought the help of the members of the steering committee to ensure restoration of permanent peace in the State and suggested that they should also discuss the issue with the Union Home Minister.

Earlier, making a strong case for release of the jailed outlawed ULFA leaders, convener of Sanmilita Jatiya Abhibartan (SJA), Dr Hiren Gohain hinting at the possibility of the militant outfit dropping its demand for sovereignty, said military chief of the outfit Paresh Barua might be marginalised, if he does not participate in the negotiation process.

A six-member delegation of the civil society group that arrived in the national capital on Saturday, had to pass through some anxious moments on Monday morning, when the Prime Minister�s Office postponed the scheduled meeting at the last hour. Dr Manmohan Singh reportedly had to undergo some medical check-ups and his morning engagements were rescheduled. The team was later given an appointment at 6.45 pm at the Prime Minister�s 7 Race Course Road Residence.

The delegation is scheduled to meet Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, leaders of all political parties including Opposition Leader Sushma Swaraj, among others. Other members of the delegation included former Vice-Chancellor, Gauhati University,

Dr Nirmal Kumar Chaudhuri, Dr Rohini Barua, Hiranya Bhattacharya, Indibar Deuri and Prof. Khorshed Alam, among others.

Meanwhile, addressing newsmen at the Press Club of India, Dr Gohain replying to questions on relevance of the proposed dialogue without the presence of Paresh Barua, opined that he may be marginalised, if he does not come for the talks. He is a member of the ULFA central committee and has to work as a member.

If the central committee manages to resolve the vexed problems then Barua would be marginalised, even if he does not come for talks, he added.

Dr Gohain said that though ULFA has not formally dropped the demand for sovereignty, a tricky issue that has stalled the peace process, they are certainly willing to tone down their demand.

�We met jailed ULFA leaders and they are getting prepared to abandon their armed struggle and we are also trying to persuade them to drop the demand for sovereignty,� Dr Gohain said.

On the fate of Anup Chetia, Dr Gohain said that he has been given to understand that efforts are on to get him to India but there is a human rights case pending in Bangladesh. He is apparently willing to come and in favour of talks, he added.

On the issue of illegal migration from Bangladesh, Dr Gohain said that though they do believe in secularism but many of the districts of the State all of a sudden have become Muslim majority. Illegal infiltration is a major problem, which the government has to solve, he added.

Replying to questions about grant of work permit, he opined that it may be considered, if the illegal migrants are not allowed to settle down in Assam.