NEW DELHI, Nov 24 - In an apparent pressure tactic, the pro-talk faction of ULFA declined to resume the political dialogue today, opting to wait for general secretary Anup Chetia to join the discussion.
�The ULFA leaders requested to associate him (Chetia) in the ongoing peace process. The Union Home Secretary suggested to the Government of India�s representative to examine the request of the ULFA leaders,� official sources said.
A meeting involving the Centre, representatives of the Government of Assam, and pro-talk ULFA leaders under the chairmanship of Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi did not make any headway as the ULFA delegation led by chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa conveyed that they would prefer to wait for Chetia to join the discussion.
Meanwhile, official sources said that appreciating the efforts made by the Government for repatriation of Anup Chetia from Bangladesh to India, the ULFA leaders requested to associate him in the ongoing peace process.
Discussions were cordial and it was agreed to meet again as soon as mutually convenient to move the peace process forward, he said.
�There was no political discussion today, as we conveyed to the Centre that Chetia has to join the talks,� spokesman of the delegation Sasha Choudhury told this newspaper.
�As the date was fixed earlier, i.e., much before the handover of Chetia by Bangladesh, we came for the meeting and made courtesy calls on Home Ministry officials,� said Chetia.
The delegation met the Union Minister of Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju and the Union Home Secretary, who has joined recently. The official delegation also included interlocutor PC Haldar, Representative for Peace Talks, State Chief Secretary, VK Pipersenia, Addl DGP, Pallab Bhattacharya, Addl DGP, Border, AK Cassyap, Commissioner and Secretary, Home, LS Changsan, Secretary, Internal Security, Ashok Prasad, Joint Secretary, North East, Satyendra Garg also joined the discussion.
�We will hold further rounds of discussion only after Chetia joins the discussion,� he said.
The ULFA leader said the next round of talks with the Central Government will be held in December, in which Chetia is expected to take part.
As reported, the pro-talk group further requested the Home Ministry officials to wind up discussion within a specific timeframe. �We have told the Centre to conclude discussion before the Assembly elections,� Choudhury confirmed.
However, sources indicated that there is confusion over Chetia�s participation in the talks as his views about the ongoing peace process is not known. The pro-talk leaders are now expected to meet Chetia in Guwahati Jail and discuss the issue. There are reports that interlocutor P C Haldar has already briefed Chetia about the contours of the ongoing talks.
Chetia, who was arrested upon his deportation from Bangladesh about a fortnight ago, is currently in a jail in Guwahati.
Meanwhile, ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa told newsmen that Chetia has already given his consent to the ongoing peace process and it has been conveyed to the Centre.
Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju said the Central Government is expecting a breakthrough in the ongoing talks with the ULFA soon.
�The Government has been talking to several groups in the North East. ULFA is one of them. We hope that a solution could be found soon,� he said.