ULFA signs agreement, but will not surrender weapons just yet

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NEW DELHI, Sept 3 (ANI): The central committee of outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom and officials of the Union Home Ministry inked a Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement on Saturday, but the former was emphatic and strindent in saying that no weapons would be surrendered just yet.

Led by the outfit`s so-called Finance Secretary Chitrabon Hazarika, the ULFA team described the pact as a “gentleman`s agreement” and added that both sides would see how future parleys progressed to ensure a movement forward.

The landmark accord was signed at the Ashoka Hotel here. Hazarika was assisted in the talks by self-styled Foreign Secretary Sashadhar Choudhary and ULFA Deputy Commander in Chief Raju Baruah.he Home Ministry was represented by Shambhu Singh, Joint Secretary (Northeast) and other senior officials.

Singh said: “We had a good round of talks and it was basically a round that spells the path ahead. We signed the Suspension of Operations agreement and have agreed on all the points.”

Singh said that his responsibility in so far as talks with the ULFA were concerned was completed and now it was for P C Haldar, the Central Government`s interlocutor for talks with the ULFA, to take the political dialogue forward.

Sashadhar Choudhary said: “Ground rules are being discussed and we have agreed on many issues to run the talks smoothly. The ULFA will not engage in any violent activity and will keep up to the agreement.This is a gentleman`s agreement. We will see how the parleys go forward.”

Choudhary was particulalrly aggressive on the question of ULFA cadres surrendering their weapons.

It suggested that the two sides had had some sort of political disagreement on this issue.

Joint Secretary Singh further disclosed that 400 fresh ULFA cadres have now joined the surrendered cadres and they will be rehabilitated in the designated camps.

He also added that the number of the camps will be increased and the camp will be renamed. Now the total number of surrendered cadres has increased to approximately 600.

The indefinite SoO pact continues during the political talks until a final agreement is reached.

ULFA leaders had arrived here yesterday, nearly a month after they had submitted their twelve demands to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.

The banned group, led by Arabinda Rajkhowa, had announced a ceasefire on July 31 and had been in discussions with the Assam and Central Governments since their top leaders excluding Paresh Baruah were arrested in Bangladesh and handed over to India in 2010.

Self-styled commander-in-chief` Paresh Baruah has been consistently opposed to having talks with the central government.

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