Assam CM thanks ULFA (I) for extending unilateral ceasefire for 3 months

Guwahati, Nov 17, 2021, IANS

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday urged the militant outfits of the northeast region to talk with the government about their issues, if any, and thanked the ULFA (I) for extending their unilateral ceasefire for another three months.

Sarma said that the extremist outfits of the northeastern region must talk with the government about their issues, if any, as it was evident from history that the violence cannot solve any problems.

"ULFA (I)'s announcement extending unilateral ceasefire for another three months would facilitate the possible talks between the government and the militant outfits," the Chief Minister said after meeting the wife and family members of Suman Swargiary, who along with an Assam Rifles Colonel and three other soldiers, was killed by the militants in Manipur on Saturday.

The banned United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) on Sunday extended its unilateral ceasefire by another three months. Sarma, who also holds the Home Department, said that ULFA (I)'s announcement would help in building confidence among all stakeholders. "It (the ceasefire announcement) would create a congenial atmosphere for peace in the state.

Government would also take proactive steps in initiating the peace process," he added.

The Assam Chief Minister had earlier said that he has been given full responsibility (by Union Home Minister Amit Shah) to start the preliminary talks with the Paresh Barua faction of ULFA-I. A backchannel talks between the Assam government and ULFA-I are on.

Immediately after the new BJP-led government led by Sarma had assumed office in Assam on May 10, the outlawed outfit had announced a unilateral ceasefire for three months on May 15 in view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Sarma, who is also the convener of the BJP-led anti-Congress alliance, North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), also strongly condemned Saturday's militant attack in Manipur.

"The Centre and the state governments in the northeast established peace and undertook developments in the northeastern states. Everyone should cooperate with these initiatives," he said.

The heavily armed People's Liberation Army (PLA) in alliance with little known Manipur Naga People's Front (MNPF) militants had killed Assam Rifles Colonel Viplav Tripathi and four jawans of the para-military force in Churachandpur district bordering Myanmar.

Tripathi's wife, their nine-year-old son were also gunned down in the deadliest militant attack.