Assam: MHA team meets Gogoi on Ulfa talks

A high-level delegation of Union Home ministry is in Assam to prepare the ground for starting political negotiations with various militant outfits including the United Liberation Front of Asom, United People's Democratic Solidarity, Dima Halim Daoga-Jewel which have come forward for dialogue to resolve their problems.

The delegation led by joint secretary (northeast) Shambhu Singh met Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi  on Sunday at his official residence, to discuss a range of issues pertaining to holding formal political talks with the militant groups.

A source in the CM office said that Gogoi advocated for early resolution of differences with the militant groups, if any, so that the process of dialogue can be set in without much delay.

The team informed the chief minister about the latest development in the pace process and the discussions it was going to have in next few days with various militant groups to pave the way for formal talks between the militant groups and the government.

Besides Singh, the other officials in the team included Deputy Decretary (N-E) Ajay Kanojia, and S M Narayan, director, military intelligence.

A formal suspension of operation agreement is likely to be initialed between the pro-talks faction of the outlawed ULFA led by its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa by the end of this month, following discussion of the outfit leaders with the MHA team.

Meanwhile, the Assam government is taking steps to set up truce-time designated camps to lodge about 400 cadres of the ULFA pro-talks faction for the purpose mainstreaming them.

These former militants are now staying either at rented accommodation or at their homes. However, a peace process requires the militants in truce to stay put in designated camps.

Sources informed that the designated camps that are being set up, will have facilities for training militants on various livelihood options to enable them to make a new life for themselves.
K Anurag in Guwahati