Assam militant outfit refuses to extend ceasefire

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Guwahati, Feb 1 (UNI) The fragile peace dialogues with several rebel outfits in Assam has received a major setback after Karbi militant outfit UPDS refused to extend its ceasefire agreement with the Union government.

The United People's Democratic Solidarity was invited for a meeting in Delhi yesterday to extend the ceasefire but its leadership chose to stay away, though the outfit had decided to maintain status quo for the moment.

UPDS publicity secretary Tung Eh Nongloda, in a release in Diphu yesterday, said the outfit would not renew the ceasefire agreement, in keeping with the views of its cadres.

The UPDS leaders decided against participating in the meeting after its cadres exerted pressure to refrain from extending the ceasefire following seizure of arms, 'harassment, intimidation' and arrest of cadres by the security forces.

The UPDS leadership also felt 'ignored and betrayed' by the government due to non-inclusion of Karbi Anglong in the terms of reference in the second State Reorganisation Commission.

The publicity secretary added that the UPDS's Central Militia Commission(CMC) had decided against signing the formal ceasefire extension until all its ranks and files, officers and cadres, including that of its armed wing, were consulted and a consensus was reached.

However, the UPDS would maintain status quo as per ceasefire agreement, unless 'provoked' by the security forces, Mr Nongloda said.

The UPDS, formed as a result of merger of the Karbi National Volunteers and the Karbi People's Front in 1999, had entered into ceasefire in 1999. The outfit had six rounds of talks with the government but not much headway was made in resolving its demands, including a separate state for the Karbis.

UNI PB-SG PL PK AS1516

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