ULFA splits, moderate ULFA group for ceasefire

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Sadiya (Assam-Arunachal border), Jun 26 (UNI) The moderate faction of the ULFA, led by the ground level commanders, today openly defied the top leadership and declared ceasefire to mount pressure to resolve the conflict through talks.

The two leading commanders of the outfit-- Jiten Dutta and Mrinal Hazarika, who addressed a press conference at their jungle camp in interior Jagla Basti on Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border said, ''there is no division in the ULFA. We field commanders operating on the ground, are trying to convince the top leaders to resolve the conflict for the last two years.'' Hazarika said, '' Those ULFA leaders living outside the country are not aware about the ground realities. They do not know how many seats of the Assam Assembly have already gone into the hands of non-locals because of the changing demography of the population.'' The issue of unabated Bangladeshi infiltration into Assam was also raked by the moderate ULFA leaders, adding that it was posing a threat to the state.

The outfit is known to have camps in the neighbouring country and maintain close links with the fundamentalist terrorists groups operating in Bangladesh, with ULFA top leaders, including Paresh Barua and Arabinda Rajkhowa, suspected to be running business empires in that country.

This has frustrated the ground cadres and moderate faction identified it as the prime reason for seeking peace. ''We have spent 20 years inside the jungle demanding sovereignty. If another 30 years goes in this process, Assam will lose its identity, culture , economy and everything to infiltration'' said Mr Hazarika.

The ULFA leadership, who are generally very prompt in issuing press releases, have not yet issued any statement so far.

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