No ceasefire agreement with ULFA: Assam CM

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Guwahati, Jun 18 (UNI) Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today dismissed reports of the government signing ceasefire agreement with any faction of the outlawed ULFA, a day after ULFA 'chairman' Arabinda Rajkhowa also refuted the reports.

The government has not entered into any truce with the ULFA or any of its 'battalions', Mr Gogoi told reporters here.

He, however, refused to inform whether any 'battalion' of the ULFA had sent fellers for talks or was negotiation on with any such faction.

Reports had appeared in a section of local media on Monday that the '28th battalion' of the ULFA, its main strike force operative in eastern Assam, had signed a truce with the Central government.

The news was denied by the ULFA chairman in an e-mail and by the 'commandant' of the battalion yesterday, stating that any decision on cessation of hostilities would be taken collectively by the top leadership.

Mr Gogoi reiterated the four pre-conditions set by the government for starting talks with any outfit as was decided to strictly adhere to in the last meeting of the Unified Command, over which the chief minister presides. The conditions include the deposit of all arms and ammunition and that all cadres must stay at the designated camps and no donations would be received by the groups, with the government providing the expenditure and training to the cadres to find employment later.

Moreover, all talks have to be held directly with the top leaders, without involvement of any third party, and the discussion should be within the ambit of the Indian Constitution.

The chief minister said the government had not pressed on the strict adherence to these ground rules while signing previous ceasefire agreements, which have led to major problems with several outfits like NDFB, UPDS and even the ULFA, when it was in ceasefire.

The NDFB was collecting money in the name of donation as no clause banning it was included in the truce agreement, he added.

On the killing of important ULFA leaders in encounters in the recent months, Mr Gogoi said, "There is no special instruction or change in the counter-insurgency operation to target the leaders now."To a poser whether the ULFA's strength had diminished after major security forces success, he said, "There has been success but the outfit still has some strength." Replying to allegations of human rights violation during counter-insurgency operations, the chief minister said, "The people should approach the Human Rights Commission whenever they feel any violation. He also added that the strife-torn North Cachar Hills was returning to normalcy and train link, which was restored only partially, would be operational soon.


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