ULFA ceasefire group not to lay down arms

July 6th, 2008 - 12:50 pm ICT by IANS  

By Syed Zarir Hussain
Guwahati, July 6 (IANS) Pro-talk leaders of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) who had recently declared a unilateral ceasefire Sunday said they would not lay down arms as desired by the government. “Laying down arms is out of the question. It would be like surrendering before the government,” Mrinal Hazarika, leader of ULFA’s 28th battalion, told IANS.

Last month, the Alpha and Charlie companies of ULFA’s 28th battalion, the outfit’s most potent striking force, announced a unilateral ceasefire saying their central leadership has failed to protect the interests of the people.

The ceasefire group has appealed to their central leadership to hold unconditional peace talks with the central government.

“We are not sitting for talks with the government. We announced the ceasefire to pave the way for our central leadership to see reason and come for direct talks with the government,” Hazarika said. The pro-talk group is now holding several rallies in eastern Assam to drum up public opinion for peace talks.

“The people of Assam want peace and that is why we are trying to build an opinion and convey the same to ULFA’s central leadership so that they see reason and agree to come for negotiations,” Hazarika said.

While denying a split in the outfit despite the ceasefire by the two companies, the senior ULFA leader said the central government should have no problems in discussing sovereignty, the outfit’s core agenda.

“The constitution of India was made by the people and amended also several times. Discussing sovereignty does not mean granting independence,” Hazarika said. “Let the government agree for unconditional talks.”

The ULFA central leadership has reacted angrily to the ceasefire.

“This ceasefire is baseless and engineered by the government,” ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa said.

More than 10,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in Assam during the past two decades.

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