CM ready to facilitate Bangla trip for talks with ULFA

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Guwahati, Mar 25: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today said his government was ready to facilitate a trip to Bangladesh for anyone who would be willing to organise talks with the ULFA leadership, based in the neighbouring country.

''I will, however, not tolerate anyone helping the outfit in carrying out subversive activities in the state,'' he stated. Mr Gogoi said his government was ready to facilitate movement of both political or civil society representatives from the state, whoever willing to hold talks with the proscribed outfit.

''Whether they be any Opposition party leader or peace interlocutor Mamoni Raosom Goswami, if they can bring the outlawed outfit to the table, I will be happy to help them,'' he reiterated. He also stressed the need to solve the insurgency issue through talks, rather than through counter-insurgency operations.

He was replying to a cut motion on the budgetary allocation for the Home department for the fiscal 2008-09, in his capacity as the state Home Minister.

Referring to the arrest of ULFA Talks Facilitator Lachit Bordoloi, Mr Gogoi said, ''Bordoloi was not arrested for his contacts with the ULFA. We were aware of it even earlier. He was arrested because he helped the outfit in carrying out violence in the state.'' The government would rather reward a person who helps in bringing the outfit to a dialogue, he added.

Furthermore, peace talks with the ULFA would not make much headway if the outfit's top leaders continued to stay in the 'safe haven' in Bangladesh.

Reiterating the government's zero tolerance towards any person or group disrupting law and order in the state, Mr Gogoi said the NDFB, which is in ceasefire with the government, would also not be allowed to flout the ground rules.

He alleged that the NDFB was flouting ceasefire rules but the government was making every possible effort to continue with the peace talks in the greater interest of society.

He also added that the Congress' ruling partner, Bodoland People's Front (BPF), was urging the government not to go 'soft' on the NDFB.

Claiming that the state's overall law and order situation had improved, the Chief Minister added that the security apparatus must be strengthened further to successfuly control insurgency.

''Problems still exist, but the government is trying its best to stop all violence,'' he said, adding, ''The militants are now targeting civilians, deviating from their earlier tactic of striking against security personnel, making things more difficult for the government.

''In spite of this, our government has been able to control insurgency strikes,'' he added.

Mr Gogoi pointed that more people were coming into the state as evident from the increasing number of trains and flights to the state, which was an indication of the state's improved law and order situation.

He said more industrial units were coming up in the state, which indicated towards the improved situation of the state.


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