GUWAHATI, June 26 � The Government of India has been trying to capitalize on the greater desire for peace among the people of North East region to bring solution to the problem of insurgency through political dialogues, said the Union Home Secretary GK Pillai.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, the Union Home Secretary said that there have been marked improvement of the overall situation in the region and there have been greater desire for peace not only among the common people but also among different militant groups of the region. He expressed the view that the Government would have to take advantage of the situation and efforts have already been launched in this direction.
Pillai pointed out that the level of violence in the region has come down considerably, which is a positive sign. But at the same time, he admitted that extortions by militant groups remain a cause of concern. �Extortion is still a major problem and efforts must be made to check the menace,� he added.
Talks with different militant groups of the region are progressing in the right direction and the Government of India is confident that peace accords with a number of smaller militant groups of the region would be signed within this year, he said. However, he admitted that it might take some time before signing of peace pacts with militant groups like the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) factions and the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).
Replying to a question on the slow progress of talks with the NSCN, Pillai said that with so many factions operating in Nagaland, it was a difficult task to expedite the pace of the peace process. However, he said that there have been much greater understanding between the Government and the NSCN at present and the Naga reconciliation group has also been trying its best to bring about unity among all the groups in Nagaland, which is necessary for restoration of permanent peace in the State. He hoped that something concrete would come up by the end of the year 2012.
On the progress of talks with the ULFA, Pillai said that the outfit is likely to submit the formal charter of demands to the Government of India in July this year and the formal talks with the outfit would start on the basis of the same.
Commenting on the refusal of the anti-talk faction of the ULFA, headed by the commander-in-chief of the outfit Paresh Baruah to join the peace process, Pillai admitted that it is a matter of concern but �we cannot force anyone to come for talks. With huge amounts of money lying in foreign banks and his business abroad, Paresh Baruah may feel that he is better off staying abroad rather than joining the peace process.� However, he expressed the hope that the pressure of the people of Assam would force Baruah to join the peace process in the days to come or else he might become redundant.