Guwahati, Jan 2: Assam Chief Minister, Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma has called upon the people of Assam in general and the intellectuals in particular to mount pressure on the self-styled commander in chief of the ULFA (Independent), Paresh Barua to give up the outfit’s demand for ‘sovereignty of Assam’ to pave way for dialogue with the Government of India to resolve the problem for good.
During his New Year’s day interaction with the media persons here, Assam CM said, “Though the government hasn’t closed the door for dialogue with the ULFA-I, it is obvious that the dialogue can’t be held with the outfit unless it gives up it demand for a sovereign Assam.”
“At the same time the ULFA-I leader Paresh Barua may be apprehensive to drop the demand for sovereignty as thousands of youths have died fighting for it over the years and he would be branded as a betrayer by the history. So, is onus now on the people of Assam and intellectuals of the state in particular to persuade Paresh Barua to give up the demand for sovereignty. The people of Assam should tell him that they don’t was sovereignty and the ULFA-I should hold dialogue with the government by dropping that demand,” the CM said.
Dr Sarma had extended an olive branch to the banned ULFA (Independent) upon taking over the CM office in May 2021 and the group announced unilateral a ceasefire that was renewed every three months. However, there has been little progress in respect of initiating dialogue
"We (the government) are working hard. The doors are still open. There are areas of agreement as well as areas of disagreement. We must maintain our optimism "Sarma stated.
“Barua only refers to an independent Assam, which presents a challenge for moving the dialogue ahead. But I as the chief minister had taken oath on the Constitution to protect its sovereignty and integrity of the country," he said.
He said that ULFA-I leader was not incommunicado and that the line of contact with the ULFA(I) was open and is not an issue of concern.
Keeping the doors open has had a positive effect as the state's law and order situation is presently steady with the exception of a few sporadic occurrences.
However, there have been reports of engagements with security forces, attempts to regroup by the ULFA(I) in various districts of Upper Assam, and the recovery of weapons and ammunition.