Guwahati, Sept 21: Assam Chief Minister, Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma today informed that he had been given the “go-ahead” by Union home minister Amit Shah to initiate preliminary discussions with the Paresh Baruah-led United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I).
Speaking to reporters here, Sarma said the Union home minister had during a meeting with him in New Delhi last night asked him to start preliminary talks with the militant outfit to “gradually” take the peace had process on track.
“The Assam government had maintained some (informal and through third party) communication with ULFA-I ‘commander-in chief’ Paresh Baruah after formation of the government (in May this year). So I had asked the Union Home Minister whether I could directly talk to the outfit’s chief over phone or through other media so that a push could be given to the peace process. He was affirmative and asked me to go ahead …and once the talks gain momentum or reach a certain stage, then the Centre will engage in the process in a way it finds suitable,” the chief minister said.
“But the talks will be preliminary…no conclusion should be drawn…it will be a gradual affair,” he added.