ULFA broken, Hiranya arrested

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Guwahati, Jun 22 (UNI) The Assam Government today completed a long and secret exercise to split the banned ULFA into two, encouraging one section for discussions and targeting the other.

There was official confirmation that controversial businessman - Mr Hiranya Saikia - member of Peoples Consultative Group(PCG) and a close overground associate of ULFA commander-in-Chief Paresh Barua, was arrested this afternoon.

Meanwhile, the official sources also confirmed that ULFA's strike force 28th Battalion of the Upper Assam has defied the outfit's top leadership and has come forward for talk.

The ULFA's top leader duo chairman Aurobindo Rajklhowa and C-in-c Paresh Barua were opposed to negotiations with present terms and conditions.

They were defied by the 28th Battalion leadership who are in touch with Assam Police. The State Government and the army managed to woo leadership of the battalion after seven months. They are now believed to be camping somewhere in Guwahati under the protection of the Assam police. They are likely to announce ceasefire soon for opening the peace process.

Last night, ULFA's former commander of the 28th Battalion Mrinal Hazarika was released on bail from Tinuskia district and whisked to Guwahati by the Special Branch of the Assam Police.

As the ULFA peace process hit a deadlock, the intelligence agencies swung in and managed to win over substantial portion of the Batllion, which has been the main strike and potent force of the ULFA for decades.

Major General Chandra Prakash, GOC of Red Horn division said 64 militants were eliminated since December in Upper Assam. There are now reports that all of them were killed with the help of information provided by the pro talk faction of the same ULFA group.

The arrest of the controversial PCG member Hiranya Saikia conformed the whole development as he was not only close to Paresh Barua but was also giving highly inflammatory statements in the recent weeks.

He was arrested by the Gorchuk police station on the charge of having close nexus with the ULFA. The controversial businessman always boasts his closeness with Paresh Barua and criticised Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi as main stumbling block for peace.

He is the critical link of the PCG, which was formed by the ULFA two years back to go between Government and ULFA while brokering peace with the Centre.

This was the first major attempt to split the ULFA and force one group for talks since 1993 when the then Chief Minister Hiteswar Saikia almost succeeded, with one group reaching to then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao.

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