Ulfa hardliners slam Rajkhowa for peace talks

GUWAHATI: The fight between Ulfa chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and military boss Paresh Baruah is public now. Ahead of the first round of discussions by Ulfa's pro-talks faction on its charter of demands with the government, Baruah has slammed Rajkhowa for seeking an agreement with the government through talks.

An email statement by Baruah's faction stated, "If Rajkhowa goes against the ideologies of Ulfa and proceeds for signing any kind of agreement with the Centre, Ulfa, as a whole, will not accept that."

The anti-talks faction's publicty in-charge, Arunodoy Dohotiya, in the email said, "We do not believe in any kind of accord with the government about which Rajkhowa is speaking in public. There can be no agreement on sovereignty. It is earned through sacrifice. Ulfa was born to restore Assam's sovereignty."

Rajkhowa, on the flip side, defended his group's peace initiative and accused Baruah of acting against the greater interest of the people of the state. Rajkhowa, who was produced in the designated court on Friday in connection with four TADA cases, said outside the court, "Paresh Baruah has nowhere said that he is seeking a military solution. Let him make his stand clear on the peace process."

This was Rajkhowa's first appearance in the court after he was released from jail on bail to facilitate the peace process in January last. Rajkhowa's statement outside the court followed an email statement from Baruah's faction, which rejected the peace process.

The Rajkhowa faction, in its charter of demands submitted to the centre on August 5, dropped its sovereignty demand and replaced it with a proposal to initiate negotiations "to bring in measures, constitutional or otherwise, of wide scope and that certain urgent political, economic, social and cultural arrangement be undertaken and completed within a reasonable timeframe by the government of India to ensure a peaceful democratic solution to the historic Indo-Assam question."