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ULFA-Govt political dialogue gets underway

By Kalyan Barooah

NEW DELHI, Oct 25 � The formal round of political dialogue got under way on Tuesday among the outlawed ULFA, Governments of India and Assam on basis of the charter of demands submitted by the militant outfit.

Emerging from the discussion held at the North Block that lasted for about 90 minutes, ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkohwa described it as satisfactory, while ULFA leader Shasha Choudhury said the process has begun and would continue. The ULFA delegation is staying back in the national capital until after the Diwali.

�We are happy and satisfied with today�s discussion, as it marks the beginning of the process to resolve the struggle between Assam and India,� Rajkhowa said.

The Government of India�s attitude towards resolving the problem is positive and I hope it continues, as it would go a long way in resolving them, he said

The ULFA delegation was led by its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and included vice-chairman Pradip Gogoi, finance secretary Chitraban Hazarika, Raju Barua, Mithinga Daimary, besides Shasha Choudhury.

The State Government representatives included State Chief Secretary, NK Das, Additional DGP, Assam, Khagen Sarma, and State Home Commissioner Jishnu Barua, while the Central team included interlocutor for peace talks PC Haldar Secretary, Internal Security, UK Bansal and Joint Secretary (North East) Shambhu Singh.

Home Ministry in a formal communication said that a tripartite meeting involving the representatives of the Government of Assam and ULFA was held under the Chairmanship of Union Home Secretary RK Singh to discuss demands submitted by ULFA on August 5 to Union Home Minister in the presence of Chief Minister of Assam.

�After the preliminary discussion on the demands of ULFA, the Government of India representative has been requested to hold meetings with the Chief Secretary, Assam and ULFA leaders on their demands regularly,� it was stated.

Concluding the meeting, Union Home Secretary stated that the steps taken by the ULFA leaders for restoration of peace and normalcy in the area would yield speedier socio-economic development for the people of Assam. Union Home Secretary would review the status of talks with ULFA periodically, the Home Ministry said.

ULFA leaders told this newspaper that today�s round was limited on fixing the agenda for the political dialogue with the Government of India. �Today�s deliberation centred round the first item on the charter of demand, which related to grounds for ULFA struggle and their genuineness.�

The pro-talk ULFA leaders had two months back submitted its 12-point charter of demands, which it called the framework of charter for negotiation to resolve the issue between Assam and India.

The ULFA chairman said that separate teams would be constituted by ULFA to negotiate on different aspects of their demands with the Government of India. The Centre too is likely to do the same and constitute such teams of negotiators, he added.

�While Centre would decide who would be part of their team, from our side we will decide our team,� Rajkhowa said.

Talking to newsmen, Shasha Choudhury said they discussed the charter of demands, which was submitted earlier. The next round of talks would be held in the next month.

Replying to questions, Choudhury admitted that contentious issues were bound to arise. �But I cannot declare anything now because we are negotiating. We have to break through the contentious issues,� he asserted.

On the issue of weapons, Shasha Choudhury refuted reports that they have been asked to surrender them. �No, we have not surrendered weapons. Where is the letter asking us to surrender weapons,� he asked.

Till now none of the camps barring one has been developed, he added.

At the discussion ULFA reiterated that the people of Assam have suffered historic neglect and disdain at the hands of the Government of India, There is, therefore, real ground for a struggle to uphold Assam�s inalienable rights, which had also led to the rise of ULFA.

The 12 broad groupings under which negotiations are proposed to start include grounds for ULFA struggle and their genuineness, status on missing ULFA leaders and cadres, constitutional and political arrangements and reforms including protection of identity and material resources of the local indigenous population of Assam.

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ULFA-Govt political dialogue gets underway

NEW DELHI, Oct 25 � The formal round of political dialogue got under way on Tuesday among the outlawed ULFA, Governments of India and Assam on basis of the charter of demands submitted by the militant outfit.

Emerging from the discussion held at the North Block that lasted for about 90 minutes, ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkohwa described it as satisfactory, while ULFA leader Shasha Choudhury said the process has begun and would continue. The ULFA delegation is staying back in the national capital until after the Diwali.

�We are happy and satisfied with today�s discussion, as it marks the beginning of the process to resolve the struggle between Assam and India,� Rajkhowa said.

The Government of India�s attitude towards resolving the problem is positive and I hope it continues, as it would go a long way in resolving them, he said

The ULFA delegation was led by its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and included vice-chairman Pradip Gogoi, finance secretary Chitraban Hazarika, Raju Barua, Mithinga Daimary, besides Shasha Choudhury.

The State Government representatives included State Chief Secretary, NK Das, Additional DGP, Assam, Khagen Sarma, and State Home Commissioner Jishnu Barua, while the Central team included interlocutor for peace talks PC Haldar Secretary, Internal Security, UK Bansal and Joint Secretary (North East) Shambhu Singh.

Home Ministry in a formal communication said that a tripartite meeting involving the representatives of the Government of Assam and ULFA was held under the Chairmanship of Union Home Secretary RK Singh to discuss demands submitted by ULFA on August 5 to Union Home Minister in the presence of Chief Minister of Assam.

�After the preliminary discussion on the demands of ULFA, the Government of India representative has been requested to hold meetings with the Chief Secretary, Assam and ULFA leaders on their demands regularly,� it was stated.

Concluding the meeting, Union Home Secretary stated that the steps taken by the ULFA leaders for restoration of peace and normalcy in the area would yield speedier socio-economic development for the people of Assam. Union Home Secretary would review the status of talks with ULFA periodically, the Home Ministry said.

ULFA leaders told this newspaper that today�s round was limited on fixing the agenda for the political dialogue with the Government of India. �Today�s deliberation centred round the first item on the charter of demand, which related to grounds for ULFA struggle and their genuineness.�

The pro-talk ULFA leaders had two months back submitted its 12-point charter of demands, which it called the framework of charter for negotiation to resolve the issue between Assam and India.

The ULFA chairman said that separate teams would be constituted by ULFA to negotiate on different aspects of their demands with the Government of India. The Centre too is likely to do the same and constitute such teams of negotiators, he added.

�While Centre would decide who would be part of their team, from our side we will decide our team,� Rajkhowa said.

Talking to newsmen, Shasha Choudhury said they discussed the charter of demands, which was submitted earlier. The next round of talks would be held in the next month.

Replying to questions, Choudhury admitted that contentious issues were bound to arise. �But I cannot declare anything now because we are negotiating. We have to break through the contentious issues,� he asserted.

On the issue of weapons, Shasha Choudhury refuted reports that they have been asked to surrender them. �No, we have not surrendered weapons. Where is the letter asking us to surrender weapons,� he asked.

Till now none of the camps barring one has been developed, he added.

At the discussion ULFA reiterated that the people of Assam have suffered historic neglect and disdain at the hands of the Government of India, There is, therefore, real ground for a struggle to uphold Assam�s inalienable rights, which had also led to the rise of ULFA.

The 12 broad groupings under which negotiations are proposed to start include grounds for ULFA struggle and their genuineness, status on missing ULFA leaders and cadres, constitutional and political arrangements and reforms including protection of identity and material resources of the local indigenous population of Assam.