GUWAHATI: Following the recent peaceful settlement of the five-decade-old Bodo issue, the Centre has now set its sights on bringing the Paresh Baruah faction of insurgent group United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-Independent) to the talking table.
The group is Assam’s only rebel group which has not yet joined the peace process.
The ruling BJP in the state has appealed to Paresh Baruah, who is the outfit’s military chief, to join the peace talks.
“We appeal to Paresh Baruah to come forward and join the peace process keeping aside their demand for a sovereign Assam as it is not feasible,” BJP state president Ranjit Dass told journalists.
His appeal to Baruah came a day after the state’s Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had urged the insurgent group to participate in peace negotiations with the Centre. Speaking at the celebrations of signing of historic Bodo Accord in Kokrajhar with PM Narendra Modi seated on the dais, Sarma had said, “I urge the ULFA-Independent to come forward and join the peace talks in the greater interest of Assam”.
The ULFA’s Paresh Baruah faction operates out of the jungles of Myanmar where several rebel groups from the Northeast have their bases. The police claim that the ULFA-Independent is left with a little over 100 armed members.
Another ULFA faction, led by its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, has been engaged in peace negotiations with the Central government for the past few years.
The ULFA-Independent is open to joining the peace talks but the group has always insisted that it will sit across the table only if the sovereignty of Assam is on the agenda. Notably, two IEDs, allegedly planted by the group, were recovered from Guwahati on the eve of PM Modi’s visit.