ULFA-constituted PCG meets today

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Guwahati, Jun 28 (UNI) The ULFA-constituted People's Consultative Group (PCG), formed for preparing grounds for direct talks between the outfit and the Assam government, today met for the first time since the '28th battalion' of the outfit declared a ceasefire on June 24.

Chief peace interlocutor Mamoni Raison Goswami, who had disassociated herself from the PCG, played host to the crucial meeting as the Jnanpith awardee expressed concern at the fast developments in ULFA peace scene in the last few days.

All PCG members, barring jailed Hiranya Saikia, attended the meeting, with Lachit Bordoloi, who was set free a couple of days ago, also present.

Saikia was arrested on June 22 for his alleged links with the ULFA. Bordoloi, who was arrested in February for alleged connection with a plane hijack conspiracy by ULFA, was released earlier this week after the court acquitted him of charges under the National Security Act.

The PCG had come under heavy criticism from the 28th battalion leaders for their 'complete failure' in taking the peace process forward.

The leaders had also informed that differences of opinion had prevailed among ULFA regarding the members of this all-important group, which was seen as peace initiators in the state.

The PCG had held three rounds of talks with the government but could not make much headway after stalemate prevailed regarding 'unconditional' talks.

ULFA demanded release of its jailed leaders for direct talks as well as 'sovereignty' on the agenda of discussion, with the government unflattering from his stand of 'unconditional' talks.

UNI SG PL SW VC1516

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