Govt-Bodo militants peace talks on Saturday
Talks between the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and government peace negotiators would be held in New Delhi.india Updated: May 26, 2006 12:39 IST
Indian authorities and leaders of a tribal separatist group in Assam are meeting on Saturday for peace talks aimed at ending two decades of violent insurgency that has left thousands dead.
Home Ministry official said talks between the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and government peace negotiators would be held in New Delhi.
"This is going to be the first round of formal peace talks with the NDFB leadership and the government is taking the meeting very seriously," the official said.
The NDFB is a rebel group fighting for an independent homeland for the Bodo tribe since 1986.
The government and the NDFB signed a one-year ceasefire pact in May last year. The ceasefire expires next Wednesday.
"This is a positive development and we expect the talks to take place in a cordial manner so that the two sides could hold threadbare discussions on various issues," Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said.
NDFB general secretary Gobinda Basumatary and four other senior rebel leaders would take part in the talks.
"We are going with a positive frame of mind. The first thing now is to extend the ceasefire and work out modalities for taking the peace process forward," said a senior NDFB leader who did not wish to be identified.
Among other things, the rebel leadership would submit a list of demands on which they want the talks to be held.
"The demand for an independent Bodo homeland is definitely on our demand list," the NDFB leader said.
Talks between Indian government peace negotiators and representatives of the state's other frontline rebel group, the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), have already begun with two rounds of negotiations having taken place.