Signs of peace talks with the ULFA emerged on Thursday with Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi favouring safe passage to its leaders and the chief of the banned militant outfit Arabinda Rajkhowa indicating he was ready for negotiations.
However, still there was no clarity about whether Rajkhowa has been brought to India for possible negotiations to end the 17-year-long violent movement in the north east, especially Assam.
There was no official word on that while Rajkhowa himself claimed to a television channel that he was speaking from Bangladesh.
Home Minister P Chidambaram, who told Parliament yesterday that ULFA may come out with a statement in the next few days, refused to discuss the issue with the media, which, he said, was creating "more confusion" than necessary by speculative reports.
Addressing a press conference in Guwahati, Gogoi said that "signals" were encouraging and things were moving in the right direction. "A good development is taking place. That is the signal I'm getting. It's moving in the right direction.... Signals (from ULFA) are encouraging," he said.
Asked whether Assam government will offer safe passage to top ULFA leaders if they come for talks, the Chief Minister said, "I am for it."