GUWAHATI, August 8 (agencies): The ULFA on Monday claimed that the centre has assured its leaders that the Constitution would be amended, if necessary, to find an honourable solution to the 32-year old political conflict in Assam.
At the same time, it denied that it was influenced by Pakistani Islamic fundamentalists.
“Chidambaram has categorically told us that the Constitution would also be amended if necessary for a positive outcome of the talks to fulfill the hopes and aspirations of the people,” ULFA vice-chairman Pradip Gogoi told PTI here in an interview.
Stating that the next round of talks would be held after August 15, he denied recent media reports about the ULFA being backed by Pakistani Islamic fundamentalists.
“These reports are false. Our chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa did not say any such thing. The question of being influenced by fundamentalists does not arise,” the ULFA ‘second-in-command’ asserted.
To a query if the reported influence alienated the ULFA from the people, Gogoi replied, “We are still with the people.
The Sanmilita Jatiya Abhibartan (of intellectuals) preparing our charter of demands is proof that we are with the people.”
He said to strengthen the ULFA it did have talks with several organisations and also went to the United Nations thrice.
On its ‘commander-in-chief’ Paresh Baruah’s opposition to the talks, Gogoi said, “He has not directly opposed the talks. It is only his publicity secretary Arun Udoy Dohotia who sends press statements opposing the parleys.”
“We have made it clear that all must cooperate with the peace process wherever and whoever they may be. It is their duty to do so as the talks involve the rights, existence and culture of the people of Assam,” he said.
“The people should have no doubt in their mind that all efforts would be made by us to find a lasting, peaceful and political solution to their problems,” he said.
Urging those ‘fishing in troubled waters’ to desist, he asked, “What is the intention of those speaking against the talks? This will only spoil the peace process that has been initiated for an honourable peaceful and political solution to the 32-year-old problem.”
“If peace is required, then talks are a must. The talks are now in the initial stage. Our charter of demands prepared by the SJA submitted to the central government on August 5 in Delhi was only a synopsis of the outline of what we want. The formal talks will elaborate on it,” he said.
“At the beginning of our Charter we have mentioned why we had to take up arms. We are not at fault… we had to highlight that the state failed to fulfill the hopes and aspirations of the people,” the ULFA vice-chairman said.