The hardline faction of the United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa), headed by its elusive 'commander in chief' Paresh Barua has predictably rejected the decision of the moderates to hold unconditional talks with the Centre.
A general council meeting of the Ulfa, which only the moderates led by its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, attended, had decided not to press for Assam's sovreignity as a pre-condition before starting talks.
"We held an emergency meeting at our general headquarters that began on February 5 and concluded on February 6 and we decided the general council meeting chaired by our chairman was unconstitutional as the meeting was held under the influence of our enemy," said an emailed statement by Arunuday Dohotiya, head of the hardline Ulfa's publicity cell.
The general council meeting had agreed for talks in New Delhi on February 10, during which Rajkhkowa would lead the rebels while home secretary GK Pillai would represent the government.
The pro-talk faction told mediapersons on Saturday that Barua, who did not attend the general council meeting, had been informed of all adopted resolutions. It also said those disobeying the council's decision would be expelled.
Ulfa's top eight leaders who have surrendered are all out on bail, with the government facilitating their release to pave the way for talks.
"The chairman and other central executive members were arrested and (are) under the control of government agencies and as such both the meetings and the decisions taken there-in violate the outfit's constitution," Dohotiya's statement said
Barua lives in hiding, and is believed to be somewhere along the China-Myanmar border.