GUWAHATI: The pro-talks faction of rebel group United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) wants that the families of its slain members are given due recognition by the state government.
Speaking at the outfit’s “Martyrs’ Day”, observed on Saturday, ULFA chairman Anup Chetia lamented that the state government allegedly did nothing for the families.
“We have close to 1,900 families of our martyrs. This includes around 50 families whose members have remained missing from Bhutan for a long time,” Chetia said.
Scores of ULFA rebels were killed and apprehended during “Operation All Clear” in 2003. It was a joint military offensive by Indian Army and Royal Bhutan Army against rebel outfits of the Northeast which operated out of the soil of Bhutan.
“The families of our slain members are going through various kinds of difficulties. They don’t have access to healthcare facilities. There is no support from the side of the State. It is sad that they haven’t received any recognition till date. I feel we can take care of them only if we form the government in Assam,” Chetia said.
The ULFA pro-talks faction chairman said the Martyrs’ Day was observed for the first time in 28 years.
“We organised it for the first time in 28 years. All these years, the government had not allowed us to organise this. Five of our members were killed by the BSF at Dipila 28 years ago. We consider the day of their killings as the Shahid Diwas,” Chetia added.
The ULFA (pro-talks faction) is made up of the outfit’s top leaders who were arrested in Bangladesh a few years ago and subsequently, handed over to Indian authorities. They have been holding peace negotiations with the Central government for the past few years.
The other faction – ULFA-Independent – is still waging a war. Led by the elusive Paresh Baruah, the group operates out of Myanmar.