Need for ground rules if ULFA-I ceasefire talk is to be carried forward: Himanta Biswa Sarma

Need for ground rules if ULFA-I ceasefire talk is to be carried forward: Himanta Biswa Sarma

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Following banned militant outfit United Liberation Front of Asom – Independent (ULFA-I) announcing a unilateral ceasefire for three months, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that if discussion is to be carried forward there is a need to frame certain ground rules.

Sarma said that Assam has seen enough bloodshed and there is a need for peace. Soon after assuming charge Sarma appealed to ULFA-I which is also known as anti-talk ULFA to come to talks and shun violence.

ULFA, owing to COVID-19 pandemic, has declared a three month ceasefire.

Replying to a query regarding the ceasefire called by ULFA (I), Sarma termed it a positive development saying that several issues were involved in the dialogue process. He however viewed that there would be a renewed boost to peace and tranquillity in the state if the dialogue process begins honouring the limitations of all.

Urging ULFA chief Paresh Baruah to shun violence and join the path of peace, Chief Minister Sarma said that people of the State do not want incidents like grenade blast at Tingrai or abduction of Ritul Saikia, rather they want peace. He informed that ULFA (I) did not call for a ceasefire in consultation with the government and if discussion is to be carried forward there is a need to frame certain ground rules.

Further informing that ULFA (I) has called a ceasefire in view of the outbreak of COVI-19 and also to give an opportunity to the new government, the Chief Minister categorically stated that government doors are always open if ULFA (I) desires to join the peace process by preparing ground rules. Nevertheless, there is hope in the unilateral ceasefire announced by ULFA (I) and this must be considered in good stead, the Chief Minister observed.

Sarma hinted that some demands like reservation on oil companies will not be a major problem for companies.

Sarma visited the residence of abducted ONGC employee Ritul Saikia at Titabor in Jorhat district and met his family members. While interacting with his parents and wife, Sarma informed that all-out effort has been made to bring Saikia back safely.

Later talking to media persons, Sarma informed that as per state government sources, Ritul Saikia is at India-Myanmar border and in good health. He said the State government is leaving no stone unturned to ensure his safe return.

Recently ULFA abducted three employees of ONGC, police have rescued two persons and one is in the captivity of ULFA.

Police have meanwhile arrested persons in connection with Tinsukia’s Tingrai Bazar grenade explosion. Two motorcycle-borne miscreants lobbed the grenade in front of a shop on May 14 resulting in the death of two persons.

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