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Himanta Biswa Sarma hopeful of finding middle ground for ULFA talks

Sarma said if the ULFA and the government can find an honourable position, then the talks can be started
Last Updated : 17 August 2021, 08:16 IST
Last Updated : 17 August 2021, 08:16 IST
Last Updated : 17 August 2021, 08:16 IST
Last Updated : 17 August 2021, 08:16 IST

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The long demand for "sovereign Assam" by ULFA-independent still seems to be the stumbling block for talks with the banned insurgent group in order to establish permanent peace in the militancy-hit state.

"The talks process with ULFA is in a peculiar situation. The issue of soverignty is their core demand and we can't talk about it since we took oath for protection of sovereignty of the nation. We can't ask Paresh Baruah to give up the demand because he may not do so since he has been doing all these (violence) on that demand. So we are trying to find out a middle ground, which is respectable for Paresh Baruah and the government," Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters in New Delhi on Saturday when asked about talks with the militant.

Sarma, soon after taking oath as new Chief Minister in May, had appealed to ULFA-Independent leader Paresh Baruah to come forward for talks. He said his government is willing to discuss the issues in order to establish permanent peace in the state.

But Sarma's statement on Saturday hinted that the talk is unlikely to begin soon as expected by some quarter.

The hope for talks emerged after it recently released an employee of ONGC, whom they had abducted, following an appeal by the Chief Minister. The group also recently suspended its violent activities for three months citing the Covid-19 situation.

"Some people are talking to Paresh Baruah and I am also talking to some in order to find out a middle path," he said.

Formed in 1979, ULFA has been carrying on with militancy with its core demand for "sovereign Assam". A faction led by former chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa started talks with the government after their arrest in Bangladesh in 2010 and submitted a charter of demands.

The find accord, however, has not been signed yet. But the group led by Paresh Baruah, which named itself as ULFA-independent, is bent on the demand for sovereignty.

Paresh Baruah is believed to be taking shelter somewhere along Myanmar-China border.

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Published 03 July 2021, 11:56 IST

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