ULFA leaders meet PM briefly

Monday, February 14, 2011

NEW DELHI - A delegation of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh briefly on a courtesy call Monday evening, days after the central government initiated talks with the outlawed militant group to end 30 long years of insurgency in Assam.

An eight-member ULFA team, headed by the coutfit’s chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, met Manmohan Singh at his 7 Race Course residence, an official said.

The meeting that lasted for about 10 minutes was a “courtesy call and a kind of introductory” exercise, an official said.

It follows the first round of formal peace talks between the ULFA and government representatives last week, held more than three decades after the outfit was formed in 1979.

The team also met Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Home Secretary G.K. Pillai last week.

The two sides have decided to form a seven-member core group, under Pillai, to take the peace process forward.

The group will discuss the designated camps, surrender policy, deposit of arms and other issues for maintaining peace in the state.

It will have the joint secretary (northeast) in the home ministry as its coordinator and will comprise three ULFA members and two representatives each of the state and central governments.

ULFA, one of the biggest rebel outfits in the tea and oil-rich region of Assam, has waged an armed uprising for an independent, “sovereign” homeland for ethnic Assamese since 1979.

At least 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Assam in the fight between government forces and various rebel groups.

Filed under: Terrorism

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