ULFA holds meetings for peace talks – without Baruah


Guwahati : The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) has secretly held its general council meeting – though without its elusive commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah – to chart out a roadmap for peace talks with the government, top members of the banned outfit said Wednesday.

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“We completed our central executive first and then the resolutions taken there were adopted at the general council meeting. The details of the two meetings would be made public at a press conference Saturday,” ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa told journalists.

Rajkhowa, now out on bail, said this after a court hearing in Guwahati relating to some pending charges against him. “I cannot divulge details of the meeting until Saturday,” the ULFA chairman said.

But ULFA sources told IANS the outfit’s central executive and general council meetings were held in the western Nalbari district in the past week – both the meetings held secretly, away from the media glare.

“ULFA commanders also took part in the meetings,” ULFA publicity chief Mithinga Daimary said.

Rajkhowa apart, those who took part in the meetings include vice chairman Pradep Gogoi, deputy commander-in-chief Raju Baruah, self-styled foreign secretary Sasha Choudhury, finance secretary Chitraban Hazarika, cultural secretary Pranati Deka and octogenarian political ideologue Bhimkanta Buragohain.

All the top eight ULFA leaders are out on bail now with the government facilitating their release from jail to pave the way for peace talks.

According to a senior ULFA leader, the important decisions taken at the meetings include holding unconditional peace talks with the government besides urging New Delhi to help extradite Anup Chetia, the ULFA general secretary who has been in a Bangladesh jail since 1997.

ULFA’s commander in chief Paresh Baruah is believed to be somewhere along the China-Myanmar border and his stand on the peace talks is still unclear.