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ULFA peace talks in Delhi on Tuesday

"This is very serious and we expect the two sides to put their heads together to resolve issue," said the Home Ministry.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2006 11:26 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

Negotiators of the Indian government and representatives of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) are scheduled to meet for fresh talks in New Delhi on Tuesday, aiming end nearly three decades of insurgency, a Home Ministry official said.

"We are taking the talks very seriously and we expect the two sides to put their heads together to try and resolve these thorny issues," the official added.

India's National Security Adviser MK Narayanan would be leading the government side.

The ULFA, a rebel group fighting for an independent homeland since 1979, had last October nominated the People's Consultative Group (PCG), a team of prominent civil society members.

"We would be asking the Government to suspend counter-insurgency operations, besides releasing a few jailed ULFA leaders so that it paves the way for direct talks between the rebel leadership and New Delhi," noted Assamese writer and PCG leader Indira Goswami said.

"The talks are therefore aimed at working out a mutually acceptable peace process leading to formal declaration of a bilateral ceasefire between the ULFA and the Central Government."

The first round of talks between the PCG and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was held in New Delhi on October 26. Singh had later said that he was ready to discuss "all issues relating to the ULFA".

The ULFA representatives include prominent journalists, a yesteryear footballer, human rights activists, an engineer, a lawyer and a doctor.

The ULFA is one of the most organised rebel groups in the Northeast where more than 30 militant outfits operate with demands ranging from independence to greater autonomy.

At least 15,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in Assam since 1979 when the ULFA, the state's first rebel group, was founded.

First Published: Feb 06, 2006 11:06 IST