Assam govt has been communicating with ULFA: Sarma on talks with Paresh Baruah
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said his government had maintained some communication with the head of rebel group Paresh Baruah ever since he took charge of the administration. He further said he had sought permission from Union home minister Amit Shah to directly talk to Baruah if the need arose. Sarma said Shah asked to ensure that the dialogue was held in a structured manner.
The chief minister said everything was at a preliminary stage and it would be a long-drawn, urging everyone to not draw any immediate conclusion over the latest developments.
“As of now, I only took permission to speak to him (Baruah) over the phone or through other media so that we can give a push to the peace process. But those are very preliminary things. No conclusion should be drawn and it will be a long affair,” Sarma was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The CM held a meeting with the home minister in New Delhi on Sunday following which he said he was partly involved in the ongoing peace process with the NSCN-IM, but was not officially holding any negotiation with the Naga rebel group.
As convenor of the NEDA, I have sometimes talked to some political parties (in Nagaland) in the past," he said. Sarma is the convenor of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), the northeast version of the NDA where major parties of the region are constituents.
Regarding talks with the ULFA, Sarma said if things moved in a proper direction, the central government may get involved in peace parleys with the outfit at a later stage.
Sarma assumed charge as Assam chief minister on May 10 replacing Sarbananda Sonowal who was later given charge at the Centre and will soon likely to become a Rajya Sabha member.