‘Won’t call them militants’: Sarma distributes financial aid to former ULFA cadres | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Won’t call them militants’: Sarma distributes financial aid to former ULFA cadres

ByBiswa Kalyan Purkayastha
Mar 03, 2024 04:35 PM IST

The pro-talk section of Assam’s largest militant group signed a peace accord with the Central Government on December 29, last year

Silchar: Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday said that he considers the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) as patriots who took guns to protect their motherland, as he distributed the financial grants to former cadres of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and their family members at a programme held in Guwahati.

CM Himanta Biswa Sarma ceremonially distributing financial grant to former cadres and family members of ULFA at a program held in Guwahati on Saturday (Twitter/@diprassam)
CM Himanta Biswa Sarma ceremonially distributing financial grant to former cadres and family members of ULFA at a program held in Guwahati on Saturday (Twitter/@diprassam)

Sarma on Saturday blamed the past government’s wrong decisions, which according to him, gave birth to ULFA and said they were never militants.

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“During the initial years after independence, the then government’s policies allowed a huge inflow of migrants from Bangladesh, and those people outnumbered the original Assamese population,” Sarma said.

“A group of youths decided to take up guns to save this land from illegal migrants. Many of them died in this process. I won’t believe if someone calls them (ULFA) militants, to me they were patriots,” Sarma said.

The pro-talk section of Assam’s largest militant group signed a peace accord with the Central Government on December 29, last year. Later in January, the members decided to disband the group, 44 years after it was formed.

Sarma had then said that around 700 security personnel and more than 4,500 innocent civilians were killed by ULFA in Assam since 1979. On Saturday, he said that around 2,300 ULFA cadres were also killed.

He said security personnel and ULFA were fighting for their motherland. “We regret the deaths of those youths who came to Assam as a part of security forces, and their dead bodies returned home.”

The chief minister said that Assam witnessed many agitations since the initial years and the past governments failed to bring peace, which affected the development of the state.

“In the last three years, we saw peace in Assam for the first time, and now all the insurgent groups have surrendered weapons to join the mainstream,” he said.

Though the majority of the ULFA leaders agreed to sign a peace pact with the government, an independent wing led by Paresh Barua refused to join discussions. Sarma said he has invited Paresh Barua to visit Assam and stay here for a few days to witness the change.

He said that the ULFA Peace Accord has secured 105 of the 126 assembly seats in Assam for the Khilanjias (original inhabitants), including the Khilanjias of Barak Valley.

“If we cannot outnumber the migrants, we can survive by securing a stronger socio-political position. We can outshine them by our quality,” Sarma said.

He added that this is a crucial moment as “the decisions taken today will secure the rights of indigenous people in future”.

“The historians of the future will remember us for the important decisions we took, we may not be alive to see their works but I want to be remembered as someone who took the right steps to secure the rights of indigenous people in Assam,” Sarma said.

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