NEW DELHI, April 30 � Setting at rest all speculation, Union Home Minister, P Chidambaram said that the progress of talks with pro-talk ULFA faction would be slow because the leaders are treading very cautiously.
�The Home Secretary held the talks and he has reported to me that it is making progress but it will be slow progress because there is an anti-talk faction. So the pro-talk leaders are proceeding with great caution,� Chidambaram said, presenting the monthly report of his Ministry.
The Home Minister was referring to the last round of tripartite talks with ULFA held on April 9. The Government of India and ULFA leaders have so far held three rounds of formal dialogue and substantive discussions on the charter of demands submitted by the outfit are yet to begin.
ULFA leaders on August 11, last presented the �charter of demands�. ULFA has given up its demand for �sovereignty� and called for more autonomy, special status for Assam and other safeguards for the people there under the Constitution.
When asked about the confusion over extension of ceasefire with Khaplang faction of the NSCN, following signing of a similar pact with Myanmar Government keeping Government of India in the dark, Chidambaram denied that negotiations were in peril.
The question relates to ceasefire between Government of India and NSCN (Khaplang) faction. The whole matter with NSCN (K) is under discussion. I can only comment on NSCN (K) talks with Government of India. They may or may not wish to sign any agreement with Government of India.
�The Khaplang faction was reported to have signed a ceasefire pact with Government of Myanmar and I have no comments to make on ceasefire pact with a country, where they operate. I can only say about ceasefire pact with Government of India and it is coming to an end,� he said.
On the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the Home Minister declined to specify a deadline on scrapping of the controversial legislation.
�There is no beginning and end to the process. It was on when the matter was placed before the Unified Command and it appointed two committees to look into the matter. They have given the report to the UC. The Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir has discussed the matter with Central Government. It is an ongoing process. As there is no beginning as such, I can�t give an end. I hope the process would lead us to take a decision,� Chidambaram said.
About the progress of work along the India-Bangladesh border, Chidambaram reported that 10 km of fencing and three km of road works were completed under phase II of the project and
Nine km of fencing was replaced under phase III of the project. Poles for floodlighting were erected on a length of 10 km and cables were laid on 10 km stretch during the month.