Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday downplayed threats to his life by the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) saying it was "nothing new." He ruled out talks with ULFA on its demand of sovereignty.
The Chief Minister was reacting to reports about New Delhi's warning of possible attacks by an ULFA hit squad against him, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his younger brother Susanta Biswa Sarma, said a police official.
"I simply don't care about ULFA's threats as these are nothing new for me. There has always been a threat perception on my life and still I move around freely," the Chief Minister said.
The warning was given by the Union Home Ministry in wireless message to the Assam Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police.
"As per the input received from the central security agencies, ULFA has plans to target Tarun Gogoi, Himanta Biswa Sarma, and his brother Susanta Biswa Sarma. In view of the above, it is requested that the input may kindly be immediately factored in while making security arrangements for Tarun Gogoi and others in order to avoid any untoward incident. Most, most urgent," the Home Ministry communique said.
"When the people of Assam are not scared of Paresh Baruah (ULFA's commander-in-chief), do you think I as the Chief Minister would be afraid of such threats," Gogoi said.
The Chief Minister rejected any peace talks on ULFA's demand for sovereignty.
"Sovereignty cannot be compromised and there is no question of holding talks on their demand," Gogoi said.
"It seems Paresh Baruah is not interested in talks and let me make it very clear that the government would never wait for Paresh Baruah for talks to begin," he said.
The entire top brass of the ULFA, barring its elusive commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah, is in jail.
The imprisoned leaders include chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, deputy commander-in-chief Raju Baruah, self-styled foreign secretary Sasha Choudhury, finance secretary Chitrabon Hazarika, cultural secretary Pranati Deka, and ULFA political ideologue Bhimkanta Buragohain.