Some militants boycott, families of others vote in Assam

April 23rd, 2009 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, April 23 (IANS) Leaders and cadres of the pro-talk faction of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) boycotted Thursday’s parliamentary elections in sharp contrast to some of the family members of the top rebel leadership casting their ballot.
“We decided against voting in the elections as our main demands were not fulfilled despite the prime minister during an election speech in Guwahati last week appreciating our stand on joining the mainstream,” pro-talk ULFA leader Jiten Dutta told IANS.

At least 200 cadres of the Alpha and Charlie companies of the ULFA’s 28th battalion, two of the potent striking units of the outfit, announced a unilateral ceasefire in June last year leading to a split in the outfit.

“All the political parties in Assam are devoid of any clear cut policy in so far as solving the insurgency problem in Assam and hence we decided to boycott the polls,” Dutta said.

But, 85-year-old Miliki Baruah, mother of ULFA’s commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah cast her vote along with other family members Thursday in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district.

Likewise, rebels of the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), currently operating a ceasefire with New Delhi, cast their votes Thursday in western Assam’s Kokrajhar and Darrang districts.

There are about 800 NDFB cadres residing in government-run designated camps.

“Now that we are on a ceasefire, there is nothing wrong in exercising our democratic rights,” an NDFB leader said.

Voting for the second and final phase of parliamentary elections in 11 of the 14 constituencies ended at 4 pm.

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