The Union home ministry has said it would welcome United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa) general secretary Anup Chetia alias Golap Baruah to join in the ongoing talks with the Arabinda Rajkhowa-led pro-talks faction of the miltant group.
"The government would have no objection to Anup Chetia's inclusion in the ongoing talks provided he is available," Shambhu Singh, joint secretary (North East) told Hindustan Times.
However, Singh ruled out Chetia's inclusion in the next round of talks expected to be held in late February as the Ulfa leader's detention is not expected to take place "that soon".
After years of operating from Bangladesh, the Bangladesh authorities arrested Chetia in 1997 on charges of illegally staying in that country, possessing forced passports and foreign currency. After ending his prison term in 2004, he sought political asylum in Bangladesh.
According to home ministry sources, efforts are on to bring back Chetia from Bangladesh. Sometime back, the government had also facilitated a pro-talks Ulfa delegation to go to Dhaka to convince Chetia to join the talks.
"There are certain feelers that Chetia is having a rethink and is contemplating joining the parleys," sources said.
Known to be a keen strategist, the general secretary is considered to wield considerable clout within the Ulfa as well as with Paresh Barua.