ULFA peace initiative in 'right direction'
The Centre today said the peace initiatives with banned ULFA has started in the "right direction" as some very senior leaders of the outfit have backed a negotiated settlement to end the decades-old insurgency problem in Assam.
Minister for Development of Northeastern Eastern Region B K Handique said the peace initiative is being taken forward by the Assam Government after a go ahead from Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.
"It (the peace initiative) has started in the right direction. We are hopeful of a positive outcome," Handique said adding that he has also discussed the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Reviving the peace initiative, the Government last week had appointed former Intelligence Bureau chief P C Haldar to act as interlocutor for the negotiations.
Asked whether talks will be fruitful without the group's 'military chief' Paresh Barua, Handique said Barua has not yet indicated his willingness for the peace initiative.
"Some very important leaders (of ULFA) have surrendered in the last one year. They want the peace initiative to move forward," the Union Minister said.
On whether Centre will consider giving amnesty to top ULFA leaders currently lodged in various jails in Assam, he said the issue may be considered during talks.
A delegation of prominent academicians, writers, retired police and army officers, rights leaders and intellectuals from Assam had earlier this week met the Prime and requested him to move forward on the peace talks with ULFA.
Noting that Centre is committed to improving the road network in Northeast, he said DONER Ministry has finalised a road project at an estimated cost of Rs 1,500 crore to build 522 kms of roads in the region.
"The proposal will be presented to the Cabinet soon," he said adding the Asian Development Bank would provide 70 per cent of the money as loan for the project.
A day after Punjab's health minister Dr Vijay Singla was sacked by chief minister Bhagwant Mann and arrested for corruption, the Aam Aadmi Party legislator's family alleged a conspiracy behind the charges of kickbacks for clearing tenders. Dr Vijay Singla's wife Anita Singla declined comment, too. “We will issue a statement at an opportune time,” said a non-practicising Ayurveda doctor, Anita.
Karnataka BJP strongman B S Yediyurappa on Wednesday indicated the possibility of a bigger role for his son and the state Vice President B Y Vijayendra in the party, a day after Vijayendra was denied a ticket to contest the MLC polls. "I'm confident that the BJP will get a clear majority under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the next elections, and come back to power," he added.
A postal department official in Madhya Pradesh has been arrested on charges that sub-postmaster Vishal Ahirwar spent money handed over by customers for fixed deposit accounts on gambling, police said on Wednesday. Far, police have received 20 complaints about missing deposits worth ₹1 crore. Ahirwar was arrested on May 20 and remanded in police custody till May 26. He is accused of cheating and criminal breach of trust. He kept losing money.
A special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Ranchi sent suspended IAS officer Pooja Singhal to judicial custody till June 8 in the mining case. Singhal was in the custody of Enforcement Directorate since her arrest on May 11. The probe agency carried out raids at the premises of Ranchi-based builder Anil Jha and another person named Vishal Chaudhary, news agency ANI had reported.
The toll from the suspected hooch tragedy went up to 13 as four more people died in Bihar's Aurangabad late on Tuesday. Aurangabad district magistrate Saurabh Jorwal said the hooch is suspected to have been brought from Jharkhand and supplied to sellers in bordering villages of Gaya and Aurangabad. Gaya's senior police superintendent Harpreet Kaur said Santosh Chaudhary, the alleged main supplier, and his four associates have been arrested.