With the deadline of ceasefire with ULFA nearing an end, the Centre is still awaiting written response from the banned outfit on having direct talks.
While Home Ministry officials were still "hopeful" of some written communication by Wednesday, the last date of the four-time extended ceasefire, the outlawed organisation was still pressing for release of its five senior leaders from jail, a demand unlikely to be met by the Centre.
"There are still two days to go," a senior Home Ministry official today said when asked if the banned outfit had sent any communication to the Centre.
The Home Ministry, which has been anchoring the ceasefire, has been facing opposition from the army, which is engaged in the counter-insurgency operations in the Northeast.
The army contends that ULFA was only buying time to regroup so that they could increase the strikes against the armed forces. On Friday, the Centre extended by another five days the suspension of army operations against the ULFA in Assam to give the banned group more time to provide a commitment about participating in direct talks.
As such the Home Ministry is waiting for a written communication from the ULFA to join direct talks. The government had earlier suspended army operations against the ULFA till September 15.
The latest extension has been granted as National Security Advisor MK Narayanan, accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his foreign tour, would be back and continue with his key role in the talks with ULFA-nominated mediators, including noted Assamese writer Indria Goswami.