ULFA leaders meet Assam CM Gogoi, seek cooperation for peace talks

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

GUWAHATI - Ahead of Union Home Secretary G K Pillai’s first round of talks with the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), top leaders of the separatist group met Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi here on Wednesday and sought his cooperation in carrying forward the peace process with the Central Government.

“I hope talks with the Centre is successful and they discussed with me how to take the peace process forward,” Gogoi told reporters after the meeting, and added that this was the first time a Chief Minister had met the ULFA leadership ‘officially and face-to-face’.

“They will tell the Centre about their demands,” he said, when asked whether the ULFA leaders had put forward their demands before him.

ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, who met Gogoi at his official residence along with seven other leaders, said the meeting with the Chief Minister was ‘primarily a courtesy call before the talks’.

“We urged the Chief Minister to speed up the process in New Delhi and sought his cooperation to take the peace process to the next phase. The modalities for the talks have not been worked out so far and will come later,” he added.

Rajkhowa and seven other leaders met the Chief Minister at his official residence in Guwahati on the eve of talks with a central team led by Union Home Secretary G K Pillai on Thursday.

The other leaders of the separatist group present in the meeting were Vice Chairman Pradip Gogoi, Political Advisor Bhimakanta Buragohain, Foreign Secretary Sasha Choudhury, Finance Secretary Chitrabon Hazarika, Cultural Secretary Pranati Deka, Publicity Secretary Mithinga Daimary and Deputy Commander-in Raju Barua.

Gogoi had on January 20 said the peace talks with ULFA is on the right track and will continue even without the separatist group’s commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah. (ANI)

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