Sovereignty must be core discussion issue: ULFA

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Guwahati, Dec 31 (UNI) The proscribed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) today dared the Centre to give a written assurance of discussing the ''sovereignty'' issue in its proposed peace talks, adding that the outfit will immediately reciprocate in a positive manner.

ULFA ''c-in-c'' Paresh Barua, in an e-mail statement to the media, accused the government of trying to divert the people's attention from the core demands of the outfit while initiating the talks.

Referring to the government's recent indications of decision on releasing the top five jailed ULFA leaders by the first week of January, Barua alleged that it was a ploy of the government to hint at resumption of peace talks ahead of any election, the Panchayat polls in this instance.

He refuted the government's claims that the ULFA had set the release of its leaders as a precondition for talks.

''The colonial rulers of the Indian government are trying to give the impression that the only condition for peace talks on the part of our organisation (ULFA) is release of our leaders,'' he said.

Barua reiterated the outfit's three-point demand for starting the peace talks - written assurance from the Centre of discussion on ''sovereignty'' issue, divulging the whereabouts of its ''missing'' leaders after the 'Operation All Clear' in Bhutan in 2003 and unconditional release of its jailed leaders.

''The Indian government should display its sincerity for peace talks by giving in writing that sovereignty will be part of the talks' agenda. Our organisation (ULFA) will immediately accept such a proposal,'' the ULFA chief added.

UNI

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