Peace process on track despite Assam attacks

March 15th, 2011 - 8:33 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) Condemning the latest terror attacks in Assam, the government Tuesday said it would continue the peace process in the state despite desperate attempts by the anti-talks factions of the rebels to wreck the dialogue process.

The “two incidents (of violence in Assam) are desperate attempts by the disgruntled factions of certain groups to wreck the peace process,” a home ministry spokesperson said.

He was referring to terror attacks Monday in which five ruling Congress workers were injured in a bomb blast in Guwahati while eight paramilitary troopers were killed and five injured when their bus was targetted by Bodoland activists in Kokrajhar in Assam.

The spokesperson said the government was committed to the peace process and “thanks to patient and painstaking efforts taken over the last two years, there is an expectation among the people of Assam that peace is returning to that state”.

He said violence in Assam had declined considerably last year as well as in the first two months of 2011.

“These two incidents indicate a deliberate effort to undermine the ongoing peace process. The people of Assam have welcomed the offer of a number of groups to hold talks with the government,” he said.

The home ministry said that talks were on with Assam rebels and “there has been satisfactory progress”.

The government has initiated a peace process in Assam and has successfully roped in some leaders of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) terror group for talks.

The first round of ULFA-government peace talks was held Feb 10 in New Delhi with the process being led by the outfit’s chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa.

This created a vertical split in the ULFA. Its elusive military commander Paresh Baruah termed the peace talks as “unconstitutional” because Rajkhowa and other seven top leaders were being surrounded by “Indian forces” - meaning the talks were being held under pressure from New Delhi.

The anti-talks faction of the ULFA last month in an emailed statement threatened to attack Congress leaders and warned people against participating in party rallies in the run up to the assembly elections.

It said that the Congress was responsible for dividing the outfit - luring some leaders into holding peace talks with the government.

A government official said the latest violence was “intended to sow fear in the minds of the people that the process of elections would be disturbed”.

“Both the central and the state governments are determined to thwart the designs of these disgruntled factions and ensure that the election process is peaceful,” he said.

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