Arrest of ULFA 'chairman' Arabinda Rajkhowa may have triggered hopes for talks to settle Assam's vexed insurgency problem but both experts and members of the group maintain that without 'commander-in-chief' Paresh Barua there can be no lasting solution.
"Paresh Barua is someone who cannot be ignored altogether. If the government is planning to go ahead with talks by involving the 'chairman', then it is a big mistake," said noted litterateur and former facilitator for peace talks Indira Goswami.
"The government may have its reasons, but the person controlling the cadres and cash cannot be ignored. All said and done, peace talks without Barua will be futile and counter-productive," the former Delhi University professor said.
Former state police chief Harekrishna Deka said Rajkhowa's detention may have paved the way for a dialogue between the group and the Centre but if Barua is out of the process, then there will be no end to violence in the state.
"Barua will go all out to create disturbances in the state as he still has his group of followers and he will be desperate to prove the group's strength," he said.
ULFA's arrested 'vice chairman' Pradip Gogoi also asserted that both Rajkhowa and Barua must be present for talks.