GUWAHATI,July 22(NNN): Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi said United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) military chief Paresh Baruah was bent upon subversion in the state despite the outlawed outfit’s declaration of ceasefire.
Barua and some 150 hardliners have refused to talk to ‘colonial New Delhi’ and have broken off with the majority pro-talks ULFA headed by chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa.
“We’ve received intelligence inputs that Paresh Baruah is planning terror attacks in the state with help from Manipur-based People’s Liberation Army, the Maoists and some other extremist groups of the Northeast,” Gogoi said on Friday. “But we are alive to the situation and taking all precautionary measures to foil his designs.”
Gogoi criticized Baruah for continuing with the armed movement when most of his colleagues gave up arms in the interest of peace. “I urge him to see the writings on the wall and abjure the path of violence. People want peace and not violence,” he said.
The Assam government believes that Baruah is operating from safe hideouts along China-Myanmar border. “He is currently holed up in northern Myanmar but keeps moving around. A number of extremist groups of the Northeast have their bases in that region,” Gogoi said.
Earlier, the ULFA used to operate from Bhutanese territories until being flushed out during ‘Operation All Clear’ (an Indo-Bhutanese joint military offensive of December 2003). Later, the outfit set up bases in adjoing Bangladesh. But the return of Sheikh Hasina to power and a subsequent crackdown on Northeast Indian militants saw ULFA shift to the China-Myanmar border.
Gogoi said peace parleys with the pro-talks faction of ULFA were imminent. “We’ve got green signal from the central government. Peace talks between ULFA and the Central government will begin very soon,” he added.
According to the chief minister, the talks will be held directly between ULFA and central government. Earlier, peace talks between ULFA-appointed People’s Consultative Group and central government hit roadblocks ostensibly after the government had refused to discuss all core issues. The issue of Assam’s sovereignty is one of ULFA’s most contentious demands.
“In the first round of talks, ULFA would submit its charter of demands. Government will then see how far it could go to accommodate the demands. All decisions will be taken by the central government but we’ll be consulted,” he said. The chief minister added that efforts were being made to bring all other militant groups to the negotiating table.