The proscribed United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa) has said the Indian Constitution has to be amended for finding 'meaningful' ways to protect the rights and identity of the people of Assam.
"We demand Constitutional and political arrangements and reforms, including protection of the identity and material resources of indigenous population of Assam," Ulfa chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa said after a meeting with the home minister P Chidambaram.
A Ulfa delegation led by Rajkhowa on Friday handed over a charter of demands to the home minister kick-starting a process of peace negotiations in quest of an "honourable solution" to Assam's three-decade-old insurgency problem.
The 40-minute meeting with Chidambaram was also attended by Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, besides six other top Ulfa leaders.
Later, addressing a press conference, Ulfa's foreign secretary Shashadhar Choudhury said the government has to change rules and law as a solution is not possible under the provisions of the existing Constitution.
"Constitution has to be changed," he said, flanked by outfit's vice-chairman Pradip Gogoi and general secretary Chitraban Hazarika.
Assam chief minister Gogoi also echoed a similar line saying: "If necessary, we may have to change law. But we must find a peaceful solution under the Constitution".
The Ulfa leaders appeared optimistic with the government's genuine concern over illegal immigration mainly from Bangladesh.
Chidambaram told the Ulfa leaders that the concerns expressed by them are of concern to the state and Union government and assured the team there is no "problem which cannot be solved within the framework of the Constitution".
Substantive talks will now be held after August 15. It will be Ulfa’s first formal peace negotiation with the government in its 32-year-old history and will be without the elusive commander-in-chief Paresh Barua.