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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Assam civil society can sway govt-Ulfa talks

Sanjib Kr Baruah, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 08, 2012
First Published: 00:48 IST(8/11/2012) | Last Updated: 00:50 IST(8/11/2012)

In the dialogue between the government and the pro-talks faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa) led by Arabinda Rajkhowa, a lot hinges on the role that will be played by Assam's civil society to prepare the ground for a lasting resolution.

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Sources said before any concrete headway is made, civil society groups such as the Axom Sahitya Sabha will have a very crucial role in aggregating and consolidating the many communities that make up the greater Assamese community.

A lot of the demands are socio-economic-cultural where civil societies must play a very important role, government sources said. Founded in 1917, Axom Sahitya Sabha is a socio-cultural body dedicated to promote the state’s culture and literary activities. It has over 1,000 branches in the state and was one of the first such body to oppose Ulfa's violent movement.

While Ulfa-talks interlocuter PC Haldar told HT that the discussions have been "quite positive" till now, he has refused to give a timeline for the inking of a resolution pact. The next round of talks is expected in November.

Meanwhile, a lot of importance is attached to what stand Ulfa's general secretary and one of the founding members Anup Chetia takes on the talks. Chetia is in jail in Bangladesh and is expected to be handed over to India soon after completion of due formalities in Dhaka.

Both the talks and the anti-talks faction led by Paresh Barua are trying to get over Chetia to their sides as Chetia is regarded as one of the prime strategists of the movement.

Reports said the government had recently facilitated emissaries of the pro-talks faction to meet Chetia in a Bangladesh jail so as to convince him to participate in the ongoing talks.

“Barua also needs Chetia as the latter’s support will accord greater legitimacy to his struggle,” the sources said.


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