GUWAHATI, Aug 10 (IANS): The outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) has literally split with a faction headed by the elusive commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah Wednesday coming down hard on the peace talks led by chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa.
"There should not be any confusion regarding the position of the ULFA as the so-called peace talks with the government are concerned," Praesh Baruah said in a signed e-mailed statement received by IANS.
The ULFA commander-in-chief was reacting to media reports Wednesday quoting Rajkhowa that recent statements by (publicity chief) Arundoi Dohotia regarding the peace talks were his own and did not have the concurrence of Baruah.
"ULFA will split only if Paresh Baruah comes up with a signed statement that he does not favour a political solution and instead wants a military solution. We believe Dohotia's statements are his own," Rajkhowa was quoted as saying in the local media.
Last week, seven top ULFA leaders led by Rajkhowa held the first formal round of peace talks in New Delhi chaired by Home Minister P. Chidambaram.
The hardliners led by the Baruah rejected the talks and the charter of demands submitted by the Rajkhowa faction to the government.
"Ulfa does not recognize the charter that has nothing to protect the rights of the indigenous people of the state. The 32-year-long movement of ULFA doesn't recognise any dialogue that doesn't discuss sovereign Assam," Dohotia said in a statement over the weekend.
Rajkhowa told the media that ULFA during its early days took the help of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
But Baruah said Wednesday: "Leaders out on bail are making unfounded and malicious statements that we took help of Pakistan. At no point did we take help from Pakistani fundamentalists as we don't encourage fundamentalists."
That the ULFA is now virtually divided and split into two factions is evident from the strongly worded statement by Baruah, hiding somewhere along the Myanmar-China border.
"I appeal to all those who are trying to create confusion to come back to the ULFA fold once again," Baruah said.