Gogoi says talks with ULFA leaders will start soon

New Delhi: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday said that talks with leaders of the rebel outfit United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) would start soon.

Addressing the media in New Delhi, Gogoi said that ULFA leaders wanted to hold their 'general council' meeting before conducting peace talks, and added the state government was ready to join in as soon as the meeting was over.

"You see, it is on the tracks, it is moving in the right direction, but how soon, I cannot say, but definitely it would start very soon. No doubt about it because they need some release of two-three colleagues, and release depends on the judiciary also, and it is not in our hands also," Gogoi said.

"Then they have to hold general council meeting so now the ball is in their court. The moment they are ready to hold the general council meeting, definitely talks will start and we are moving in the right direction. That is all I can say," he added.

Arabinda Rajkhowa, the recently released ULFA chief, has been demanding facilitating the participation of other top leaders of the organization, including Anup Chetia, the secretary general of the group, currently behind bars in Bangladesh.

Talking about the ongoing ethnic clash between the Rabha and Garo tribal communities on the Assam-Meghalaya border, Gogoi said that restoring peace in the state was a major concern, and security forces were trying their best to control the violence.

"Now it is under control. Yes, large numbers of refugees, they have migrated to Assam also and some have gone. Garo mainly have gone in Meghalaya also. We have been in touch with the Meghalaya government and we are using our all the security forces, even the army also. Then we are involving all the communities to restore peace, that is no doubt about it," Gogoi said.

The region has been witnessing tension and clashes over the past five days between Garos and Rabhas after Garos attacked Rabha villages, allegedly in retaliation of an attack on the former.

According to reports, at least eight people were killed and several houses of members of both communities were burnt in the ethnic clashes. (ANI)