GUWAHATI: Deported ULFA leader Anup Chetia, who is an accused in a number of murder, abduction and extortion cases, today sought forgiveness from the people of Assam for "past mistakes" and said he was ready for peace talks.
"I ask for forgiveness from the people of Assam for our past mistakes", the ULFA General Secretary, who was incarcerated in Bangladesh for 18 years, told reporters.
Coming out of the designated court here after being produced in connection with two TADA cases, the ULFA leader said, "I pay tribute to the people who lost their lives for opposing our revolution and pray for peace of their souls".
Asked about his support for the peace talks, Chetia said, "Many have been suspecting that I am not for peace talks (with the government). Some are also suspecting that I will run away. But I am for the peace talks".
"I am grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, union Home Minister, Foreign Minister, union Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi for trying to bring me back," Chetia, who returned from Bangladesh where he was incarcerated in jail for 15 years, said.
The ULFA leader was then whisked away by security personnel before he could answer further queries.
Following his extradition on November 11, Golap Baruah alias Chetia was arrested by CBI in Delhi in connection with a murder incident in Golaghat (Assam).
Chetia was handed over to India by Bangladesh where he was in jail since his arrest by the country's police in 1997 on charges of cross-border intrusion, carrying fake passports and illegally keeping foreign currencies.
Chief Minister Gogoi had earlier said, "the State Government has all along been pursuing with the Centre for repatriation of Chetia and now since he has been repatriated, he (Chetia) should be associated with the ongoing peace talks between the Government and the pro-talk faction of ULFA".
"ULFA General Secretary Anup Chetia is an important figure in the context of peace talks and State Government believes that he can play a decisive role in the ongoing peace process. Since Chetia has been extradited his service should be utilised to give breakthrough in the ongoing peace talks", Gogoi had said.
He had also urged the Centre to use Chetia's service to find a permanent solution to the long standing issue.