Gogoi welcome ceasefire

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Guwahati, Jun 25 (UNI) Assam Chief Minster Tarun Gogoi today welcomed the ceasefire announced by the 28th battalion of the ULFA and hoped that others would soon follow suit.

The United Liberation front of Asom (ULFA)'s strike force--the 28 Battalion-- defying the top command, announced unilateral ceasefire yesterday.

A fax, signed by commander of the 28th Battalion Mrinal Hazarika and his deputy Jiten Dutta, announced this thus bringing down a curtain on a year-long drama when the Intelligence agencies worked behind the scene in a planned manner to win over the ground level commanders isolating the top duo- Chairman Aurobindo Rajkhowa and Commander-in-chief Paresh Barua-- who are holed up outside India.

This is the second split in ULFA in its 38-year old history.

The fax, sent to UNI office, said the window of opportunity provided by them would be used by both the state and union Government.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in his welcome statement said, ''The 28th Battalion is one of the important battalions of ULFA and this decision would definitely help usher in peace and prosperity in Assam.'' ''I am happy that more and more ULFA cadres and other insurgent outfits have realized that armed struggle has retarded the growth of Assam and thereby have done great disservice to the people of the state,'' he said.

A formal response to the ceasefire is expected after his scheduled meeting with the Prime Minister on July 2.

He also appealed to all the other ULFA cadres and other insurgent groups to eschew violence and come forward for talks within the framework of the Indian Constitution.

'' The Government will make all efforts and provide all facilities to bring them to the mainstream, so that they can lead a normal life with honour and dignity and serve the society in a meaningful manner,'' he said.

The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) also welcomed the development.

Parishad's General Secretary Hiten Goswami said it would have been better if the whole group was brought under the ceasefire purview without going for divisionary tactics.

UNI MT KK DB1619

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