AGP questions government on handcuffing ULFA chairman

"The handcuffing of Arabinda Rajkhowa and at the same time talking of peace does not go together. The government should clarify its stand on whether they would like to begin peace talks with insurgent groups or want to control it militarily," AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary told journalists.

Rajkhowa and ULFA's deputy commander-in-chief Raju Baruah were brought to the court in Guwahati after their arrest Dec 5 in handcuffs.
The ULFA chairman told waiting journalists at the court that there was no question of negotiations, with handcuffs on.
"The entire episode (Rajkhowa's arrest) is mired in controversy with the government making contradictory statements - first saying they surrendered, then said they were arrested, then other things like getting good news very soon (meaning holding peace talks)," the AGP leader said.
Patowary led a delegation of AGP MPs and legislators and met President Pratibha Patil in New Delhi Friday.
"We submitted a memorandum seeking her intervention to initiate peace talks with the ULFA and other insurgent groups in the state," the AGP president said.
This is the first time the AGP has come out openly against the handcuffing of the two ULFA leaders, an issue that has already created some heat in the state with groups known to maintain pro-ULFA stand hitting out at the government for the incident.
"It is time the government realises that there should be an honourable settlement to the ULFA problem and that talks cannot be held with handcuffs on," said Lachit Bordoloi, a rights leader and member of the ULFA constituted People's Consultative Group (PCG).
The PCG, nominated by the ULFA with people drawn from the civil society, was formed in 2005 to explore possibilities for opening talks between the ULFA and New Delhi.
The PCG held three rounds of exploratory talks, including one meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The PCG's efforts failed after the central government rejected certain demands like holding talks on the issue of sovereignty.

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