ULFA-GOI Lateral talks – Demand charter to be submitted today

By- Correspondent | Date- August 5, 2011

The pro-talk faction of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) is expected to submit its charter of demands to the Union Government of India today in New Delhi. It is also expected that the demand charter would be made public today, after it is handed over to the centre.

The seven member delegation of ULFA led by Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa had left for Delhi yesterday for the talks. He claimed before leaving that protection of interests of people of Assam was the main agenda of the charter of demands which would be submitted to the Centre.  Rajkhowa hoped that their efforts will lead to an end of the long Indo-Assam conflict and bring a permanent and honorable solution.

From sources, it has been understood that the demand charter would contain several significant demands including separate constitution for Assam, complete rights of the people of Assam on the state’s assets, greater autonomy, eviction of outsiders and foreigners and other burning issues. The return of ULFA General Secretary Anup Chetia is also expected to feature in the agenda.

The seven member ULFA delegation comprises of Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, Vice president Pradip Gogoi, deputy commander-in-chief Raju Barua, foreign secretary Sashadhar Choudhury, finance secretary Chitraban Hazarika, cultural secretary Pranati Deka and publicity secretary Mithinga Daimary.

It is expected that Union home secretary R.K. Singh and other senior officials of the ministry would meet the ULFA delegation, during which charter of demands would be handed over. Centre’s mediator with ULFA, P.C. Halder would also attend the meeting.  Chief Minister of Assam Tarun Gogoi, who has reached Delhi returning from his UK visit, is expected to meet P. Chidambaram today as well on the matter.

The outfit is also understood to have chartered out their own set of discussion agenda and demands in accordance with the Demand Charter for peace talks created by Sanmilita Jatiyo Abhibartan (SJA). The SJA is a civil body led by noted intellectuals of Assam and comprised and supported by over 100 civil, non-political, ethnic and student bodies of Assam. The Sanmilita Jatiyo Abhibartan (SJA) is said to have put in enormous efforts with the help of all section of the society, from scientists to social workers, law makers to agriculturist to prepare a 400 odd page Demand charter of Assam for the ULFA leadership to use it as a basis to talk with the Government of India. This step by the civil society and intellectuals was welcomed and appreciated by the ULFA pro-talk leadership. Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa had even termed this demand charter as the National Resource of Assam.

The first official start to the lateral talks between the two sides had commenced in February this year, when the ULFA leaders met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and also P. Chidambaram in Delhi. However that was only a courtesy to the whole exercise to be followed and the actual talks are expected to start only now, with the demands ready to be put across in the table.

Arabinda RajkhowaAssamManmohan SinghRaju BaruaRaju BaruahSanmilita Jatiya AbhibartanTarun GogoiULFAULFA- GOI talksULFA-GoIUnited Liberation Front of Asom