Monday, July 19, 2010

Ray of peace

The much-awaited meeting between the Prime Minister and Sanmilita Jatiya Abhibartan finally took place in Delhi recently. The meeting was aimed at creating conducive atmosphere for an amicable and negotiated settlement of the ULFA issue. After meeting with the Prime Minister Dr. Hiren Gohain, convenor of the committee expressed happiness and revealed that Dr. Manmohan Singh appeared to be keen to have a dialogue with ULFA and he (Prime Minister) means business. The 6-member delegation of the committee, which met the Prime Minister, raised several issues during their 45-minute discussion. Among the issues the Committee raised were early release of ULFA leaders from jail. The committee members argued that it was necessary so that the general council of ULFA could meet. Other members of the delegation are former Vice-Chancellor, Gauhati University, Dr Nirmal Kumar Chaudhuri, Dr Rohini Barua, Hiranya Bhattacharya, Indibar Deuri and Prof. Khorshed Alam. In an exclusive chat with Access North East Dr. Hiren Gohain further reveals “Our meeting with the Prime Minister was very fruitful. The Prime Minister appeared to be keen to understand the problem and solve it. His seriousness can be judged from the fact that he gave us 45 minutes and listened to our views with rapt attention.” “At first we informed him about the formation of Sanmilita Jatiya Abhibartan, its aim and purpose. We categorically told him that we do not support ULFA. Rather we criticized the organization for their wrong doings. But at the same time, we realized that some of their grievances are genuine and needed to be addressed at the earliest. We think that once these issues are solved, Assam will return to peace and normalcy. For example, lack of development is a concern for the populace of Assam. We are not saying that Centre has done nothing to develop Assam. It provided funds from time to time for development. But the Centre has failed to keep a watch on how the funds were being used. We told the Prime Minister that unless an effective management system is created to monitor the use of developmental funds, fruits of development would not reach to the people of Assam. Assam will continue suffer. In this context we mentioned about Kashmir too. We pointed out that with all the money for development, that State is still in turmoil. Assam will soon joining the list.” “At this juncture one of my colleagues interjected by saying that ULFA is the mother of all insurgency in Assam. Several ethnic groups have taken up arms following ULFA line. So once the ULFA problem is solved, other problems will be solved automatically. Another colleague pointed out about lack of employment avenues.” “We appealed to the Prime Minister to ensure early release of the jailed ULFA leaders. So that they can discuss between them on the issue of holding talks with The Centre. We argued that decision on such an issue cannot be taken inside the jail. ULFA leaders should get a chance to talk freely among themselves.” “The Prime Minister, who listened our arguments carefully, spoke after we made our submission. He assured us that the center would do everything possible for the return of peace in Assam. He reminded us that in 2006, at the behest of Indira Goswami similar kind of efforts were made. He himself took part in that initiative. He would be happy if our efforts could bear fruits.” Meanwhile in another related development PC Haldar is set to be ULFA talks interlocutor. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi formally suggesting his name to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram. The Chief Minister briefed Chidambaram on the ULFA peace process being initiated by the State Government. The Union Home Minister has given the “go ahead” and assured of all possible assistance to the State Government to start the peace process, said Mr. Gogoi. “He has given us the go ahead,” he said. Gogoi said, he has suggested Haldar’s name, as he is already involved in the peace process with other militant outfits like DHD (J), UPDS and NDFB among others.


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