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Army op to be called off if ULFA declares cease fire: Govt

Written by: Staff

Guwahati, Feb 28: Assam Government has indicated that it would suspend counter-insurgency operations by the Army if the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) declared a cease fire.

The state government, in response to a growing demand, would call off Army operations in the state, an official source said, adding, ''It has to be a two-way traffic. The Army will be back in the barrack provided the ULFA agrees to a cease fire.'' There had been a growing demand for suspension of Army operations in the state ever since the ULFA constituted its group of negotiators, People's Consultative Group (PCG), in September to prepare the ground for direct negotiation with the Union government.

The PCG, which had so far held two rounds of talks with the Centre, had pitched for suspension of Army operations to impart momentum to the peace process.

It had been advocating a cease fire between the Centre and the ULFA. The Army had been engaged in counter-insurgency operations in the state since November 27, 1990.

The demand had gained momentum in the wake of alleged Army excesses on civilians in Upper Assam.

The custodial death of one Ajit Mahanta earlier this month had triggered massive protests in the area that led to police firing on the protestors who turned violent at Kakopathar in Upper Assam's Tinsukia district. Nine persons were killed in the police firing, sparkling state-wide protests.

The state government had cautioned the security forces and police to prevent recurrence of similar incidents.


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