Govt's decision on release of jailed ULFA leaders by Jan 5

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Guwahati, Dec 29 (UNI) Jnanpith awardee and chief ULFA peace interlocutor Dr Mamoni Raisom Goswami today said a decision to release five jailed ULFA leaders, which was set as a precondition by the outfit for resumption of peace talks, was likely to materialise by January 5.

Talking to reporters on the sideline of a book release function here, Dr Goswami said Congress general secretary Verrapa Moily has informed here that a decision on whether to release the jailed leaders was likely to be taken by January 5.

Mr Moily, who is also the party in-charge of Assam, had expressed interest in breaking the stalemate in the peace process since last year after the initial progress had fallen apart following the government's insistence on a written assurance by the ULFA of talks and the latter's demand for release of its five leaders before further progress.

Dr Goswami said, ''Mr Moily understands the problems of the state and has expressed a positive interest in taking the peace process forward.'' Stating that there had been positive development in the state, she said, ''If talks with ULFA begins, other outfits will also follow to the negotiation table and the insurgency problem confronting the state will be solved to a great extent.'' The past year had been a struggling one for the state and the new year brings hopes for peace, the noted litterateur added.

On ULFA's sincerity for talks, Dr Goswami said, ''I have learnt from reliable sources that the ULFA will initiate the process after their leaders are set free and not returned to the jungles.

The top five ULFA leaders in jail were ULFA ideologue Bhimkanta Buragohain, 'vice-president' Pradip Gogoi, 'publicity secretary' Mithinga Daimary, 'cultural secretary' Pranati Deka and senior leader Ramu Mech.

UNI

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