Assam verdict refects hope for an end to conflict: Ulfa

Sanjib Kr Baruah

New Delhi, May 16 : The verdict in Assam reflects hope for a permanent solution to the longstanding conflict, a top ULFA leader said after the Congress registered an unexpectedly high tally of 78 in the 126-member assembly. "The result underlines the hope and aspiration of the people of Assam to see a genuine solution
to the conflict between India and Assam," said Prodip Gogoi, vice-chairman of the United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa).

"It is also reflects people's anger against Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) leader Prafulla Mahanta for his involvement in the 'secret killings episode', which seemingly people have not forgotten," he said.

AGP could manage only a humiliating 10 seats.

During his second term as chief minister from 1996-2001, Mahanta was accused of playing an active role in the murder of family members of Ulfa cadres. About 35 such 'secret killings' have been documented.

The Ulfa is presently studying a 390-page document drafted by the Sanmilita Jatiya Abhibartan, a body of intellectuals, that will form the basis of its agenda for the forthcoming talks with the government.

The Ulfa vice-chairman also said "equal rights and protection of the indigenous people of Assam" would get top priority in the talks.

"There is a feeling among people that we are getting far less than what we are giving in terms of resources. This anomaly should be corrected," said Hiren Gohain, convenor of SJM.