Peace talks a political gimmick: Prafulla Mahanta

GUWAHATI: Rejecting the Assam government's peace process with United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), leader of opposition Prafulla Mahanta today said the exercise will be futile without the presence of the outfit's elusive chief Paresh Baruah.

"The recent offer by the government for talks is only a political gimmick and unless Paresh Baruah, known for his anti-talk stance is not included, the process will be futile," Mahanta, also a two time chief minister, told reporters in Guwahati.

A change in the political leadership in Bangladesh, where the top ULFA leaders were taking refuge, paved the way for talks with most of the ultras arrested and released on bail.

"But there is no point in talking to different groups at the same time. The entire top leadership of ULFA have to be included in the talks process including Paresh Baruah," he said.

Baruah remains the only top and influential leader who is still underground as the other prominent ULFA ultras, including its 'chairman' Arabindo Rajkhowa have been arrested and released on bail.