ULFA team leaves for Delhi to start talks

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Guwahati, Feb 9 (NNN): A 22-member team comprising top Assam government officials and leaders of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) left for New Delhi Wednesday afternoon to formally initiate the unconditional peace process on Thursday.
The peace process would be taking off amid threat from the anti-talks faction of the ULFA led by its elusive commander-in-chief Paresh Barua. He termed the peace process as a sellout by his former colleagues and has vowed to carry on the struggle to liberate Assam from ‘Indian occupational forces’.
The delegate includes eight ULFA leaders including chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, deputy commander-in-chief Raju Barua, general secretary Pradip Gogoi, publicity secretary Mithinga Daimary, foreign secretary Sashadhar Choudhury and finance secretary Chitrabon Hazarika.
Leading the Assam government team are chief secretary NK Das, additional DGP (special branch) Khagen Sarma and home commissioner Jishnu Baruah.
Before taking the afternoon flight to Delhi, the ULFA delegate called on Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi at his official residence to discuss the modalities of the peace process. “We are hoping for the best in Delhi,” the chief minister said while lashing out at Paresh Barua as an “incorrigible” troublemaker.
Home department officials said the delegation would be meeting Union home minister P. Chidambaram Thursday morning before holding introductory talks’ with Union home secretary GK Pillai and the Centre’s interlocutor PC Haldar.
The ULFA leaders also want to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh since he represents Assam in Rajya Sabha. The Home Ministry is expected to facilitate a meeting with Singh on February 13 since Rajkhowa is reportedly reluctant to participate in any talks before meeting the Prime Minister.

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