Guwahati: The continuous invitation from Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to the banned militant outfit of United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) led by its supremo Paresh Baruah seemed to be not working well, as the militant outfit on Tuesday has once again called for a total boycott to the ensuing Republic Day celebration.
What considered being highly significant that the outfit refrained from a boycott call last year breaking a four-decade-long tradition. However, the outfit has decided to make a boycott call once again this year.
In a joint email statement from the ULFA (I) and National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K), the outfits said, “The people of Assam and Nagaland are asked to refrain from celebrating the Republic Day celebration and a general strike should be observed from 1 AM to 6 PM on January 26. All government and private organizations, business establishments and public places should be avoided during the period.”
The statement by ULFA (I) came hours after Sarma during an event in the city once again appealed to the outfit chief Paresh Baruah to rethink and come forward to join the peace process. “Paresh Baruah must understand that this is not the same time or Assam of the 80s when he had gone to the jungles for an armed revolution. The mindset of the people of the state has changed over the years and presently no one is thinking about isolation. Rather people have realized that we are an integral part of India and the future is in marching ahead with the nation. He (Paresh Baruah) must realize it and join the peace talks with due respect,” the chief minister said.
ULFA (I) has been demanding a sovereign Assam since its inception in 1979. However, a hint of positive progress in the peace negotiation between the outfit and the government surfaced when the militant group decided to go for a unilateral ceasefire from May 15, 2021, which was also being renewed at regular intervals.
Earlier, chief minister Sarma said the people of Assam will have to exert “moral pressure” on Paresh Barua to give up the demand for sovereignty. “The people will have to convince him to give up the demand so that history does not consider him a betrayer,” he said.
Sarma said that the possibility of bringing the Paresh Baruah-led ULFA (Independent) for peace talks will not be possible till the time the leader keeps demanding sovereignty.