Two more ULFA units may cease fire in Assam

August 30th, 2008 - 2:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, Aug 30 (IANS) Two more potent striking units of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) may soon enter into a ceasefire with the government in Assam, officials said here Saturday.”We are sure that ULFA’s 27th and 709 battalions would soon agree to a ceasefire with contacts established with their leaders,” said G.P. Singh, deputy inspector general of Assam police.

The police official, however, refused to divulge more details of the developments.

This is the first official reaction about ULFA’s 27th and 709 battalions hinting of a ceasefire after two other striking units of the outfit - the Alpha and Charlie companies of the 28th battalion - declared a unilateral ceasefire with the government in June.

“The ULFA is a demoralised lot as they were facing heavy reverses following sustained anti-insurgency operations by security forces. The cadres were also getting disillusioned with the rebel leadership losing focus and control of the situation,” said Maj Gen Chander Prakash, general officer commanding (GOC) of the Red Horns division, engaged in a massive anti-ULFA offensive in parts of western Assam.

The pro-talk leaders of the Alpha and Charlie companies are now engaged in a massive public awareness campaign across the state to pressure the central ULFA leadership to come for peace talks with the government.

“People of Assam want peace and the ULFA central leadership should respect the aspirations of the people and come for unconditional peace talks,” Jiten Dutta, leader of the A and C companies of the ULFA, told IANS.

For the first time, the pro-talk ULFA leaders established direct contact with the ULFA central leadership by way of holding a meeting with Bhimkanta Buragohain, one of the founder members of ULFA and a political ideologue.

Buragohain is currently lodged at a jail in Tezpur in northern Assam after he was captured and later handed over to the police by Bhutanese authorities in 2003.

“We told Buragohain about the general mood of the people of Assam and urged him to convey the same to the ULFA central leadership for joining the peace process. We met him at the Tezpur jail,” Dutta said.

Top ULFA leaders, Paresh Baruah and Arabinda Rajkhowa, are believed to be operating out of Bangladesh.

Dhaka, however, denies their presence in that country.

The ULFA leadership are averse to joining the peace process and had put some pre-conditions - talks could be held only if New Delhi agrees to discuss their core issue of sovereignty and release five top jailed rebel leaders.

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