The Centre on Sunday said it is ready to hold peace talks with ULFA but ruled out any discussion on the basis of a demand voiced by a section of the banned militant outfit for "sovereignty" for Assam.
Sources said the ULFA was speaking in different voices on the prospect of talks with the Centre. The sources, however, noted that ULFA Chairman, Arbinda Rajkhowa, now in custody of Indian authorities, is the chief of the civilian side.
There is no question of any discussion on the basis of "sovereignty" for Assam, the sources said.
Paresh Barua, the elusive commander-in-chief of ULFA said yesterday that there was no confusion in the minds of the ULFA cadres who want "sovereignty" for Assam to be discussed in any dialogue, while denying a split in the organisation.
"We are ready for it (talks) provided sovereignty for Assam is discussed," Barua, who is known to be against talks, said, asserting "we have full confidence in Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa."
Sources noted that the ULFA emissaries were in touch with the Centre but there was a break in the past year or so.
Sources say countries like Bangladesh were much more responsive now to Indian requests to deal with the presence of ULFA elements in their territory.