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Centre monitoring Assam violence: Goswami

Mediator for ULFA talks has taken up the matter with National Security Adviser MK Narayanan and requested him to immediately halt the operations.

india Updated: Feb 13, 2006 22:38 IST

Concerned over the fate of the peace process against the backdrop of the ongoing police and Army actions in Assam's Kakopathar which left nine dead, mediator for ULFA talks Indira Goswami has taken up the matter with National Security Adviser MK Narayanan and requested him to immediately halt the operations.

"I spoke to National Security Adviser MK Narayanan and he assured me that the Government is monitoring the situation very strongly," Goswami said.

She said ULFA Commander-in-Chief Paresh Barua seemed positive about the outcome of the just held PCG-Government meeting but was "terribly agitated" when she spoke to him over phone on Saturday.

"I spoke to Paresh Barua on Saturday. He was happy in the morning...In the evening, he was terribly agitated," she said.

However she said there is still a possibility of direct talks between ULFA and the Centre after the ULFA-chosen People's Consultative Group's (PCG) meeting with the Government, likely to be held in March or April.

"There is a possibility of direct peace negotiation involving ULFA and the Government after the next round of talks between PCG and the Centre," the Jnanpith Award winning author said adding that in coming days PCG will chalk out the modalities for next round of talks with the Centre.

"We are hoping that the next PCG-Centre talks will be the last round," she said.

Goswami said Home Minister Shivraj Patil is likely to participate in the next round of PCG-Government meeting, which will be held possibly in March.

Asked about Government's response to ULFA's plan to raise the contentious issue of "sovereignty", Goswami said the Centre "gave us the impression that they would listen to all issues".

"When Government said that we are going to discuss all the issues, all the core issues, it is obvious that they are going to listen. It is not that government's hands are tied with some kind of words," she said.

Replying to a question on whether an interlocutor should be appointed by Centre for ULFA talks, she said it is always better to have someone who understands the problem.

On release of top ULFA leaders from various jails of Assam, she said, "I personally feel that (Centre) they are going to release...."

"At least, the Government should first release the children and women cadres of the outfit who were caught during Bhutan operation in 2003," she said.

The Government, at a meeting with ULFA-chosen People's Consultative Group last Tuesday, had agreed to examine the possibility of releasing jailed leaders of the outfit in consultation with Assam government.

Both sides had also agreed that maintenance of peaceful atmosphere in the state was vital to create a conducive environment for a dialogue.

Union Home Secretary VK Duggal, National Security Advisor MK Narayanan and other senior officials from the PMO and Home Ministry participated in the meeting.

The first meeting between PCG and the Centre was held in October 26 last year where the Prime Minister was also present.

First Published: Feb 12, 2006 12:43 IST