The fugitive Mynamar-based banned militant outfit United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) (ULFA-I) leader Paresh Baruah is likely to come overground and sign a peace accord with the Centre ahead of the Assam’s biggest festival Bohag Bihu, Outlook reported.
Earlier in the day, Assam Finance Minister and NEDA convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma dropped hints and told reporters in Guwahati that the Centre is more than willing to hold dialogue with the ULFA-I for the sake of permanent peace in Assam and the Northeast.
“We appeal Baruah to reconsider his decision of staying away from peace talks and come to the talks table,” Sarma said.
The development comes a few days after ULFA-I claimed responsibility for four serial blasts in Upper Assam districts on the Republic Day.
Sarma also mentioned in the press meet that the people of the state will hear some good news soon ahead of the Bohag Bihu, celebrated in mid-April with pomp and gaiety across the state. The Minister also informed that the Assam government has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to visit the state on February 7th, 2020.
The signing of the accord with ULFA could be the ‘good news’ and a perfect ‘Bihu gift’ for a large section of people who are protesting against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.
The report further mentioned that Rebati Phukan, Baruah’s childhood friends – who ‘disappeared’ in April 2018 – is the intermediary between the banned outfit and the Centre.
The Union home ministry on January 27th, 2020 signed a historic Memorandum of Settlement with all the factions of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and Assam government. 1,550 cadres along with 130 weapons will surrender on January 30th, 2020.
The tripartite agreement was signed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, top leadership of the four factions of the NDFB and the Centre. The All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU), which has been spearheading the statehood movement, was also a signatory.
As per reports, the Centre is keen to sign the peace accord with all the factions of the ULFA on the lines of the Bodo Accord. The peace talks with the pro-talk ULFA led by Arabinda Rajkhowa has reached the final stage and an accord is likely to be signed in April.
The report further stated that the Centre is likely to finalise the definition of Assamese ahead of the signing of the accord. The panel on Clause 6 of the Assam Accord is likely to submit a report to the Centre by mid-February.
The ULFA-I was formed on April 7th, 1979 by Bhimakanta Buragohain, Rajiv Rajkonwar alias Rajkhowa, Golap Baruah alias Anup Chetia, Samiran Gogoi alias Pradip Gogoi, Bhadreshwar Gohain and Paresh Baruah at the Rang Ghar in Sivasagar to establish a “sovereign socialist Assam” through an armed struggle.
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