ULFA leader Anup Chetia-led North East Indigenous People’s Forum (NEIPF) on Tuesday formed the Meghalaya chapter of the forum and vowed to work for safeguarding the indigenous people in the whole Northeast region.
After forming the chapter, Chetia led a delegation and met Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma to express opposition against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and thanked him for leading political parties from the Northeast to Delhi in opposing the Bill.
Three organizations in Meghalaya, the Federation of Khasi Jaiñtia and Garo People, Hynñiewtrep Youth Front and Ri Bhoi Youth Federation are part of the NEIPF Meghalaya chapter.
“We are very grateful to the chief minister (Conrad K Sangma) for opposing the CAB. Not only in Meghalaya but the whole Northeastern region appreciated his stand as it is very encouraging especially to the people of Assam,” Chetia told reporters.
Chetia is the general secretary of the pro-talk ULFA and convener of NEIPF.
According to Chetia, the Meghalaya chief minister has taken a bold stand against the CAB despite being a partner of the BJP.
“We came here to congratulate him. We need leaders like Conrad not only in Meghalaya but in the whole Northeastern region. We are still standing against the Citizenship Bill and will go against it along with the people of Assam and also with the help of people of the region as a whole,” Chetia said, adding that the bill will finish the identity, culture and demographic structure of the region especially Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Manipur.
On the NEIPF’s stand on implementation of inner line permit (ILP), Chetia said, “We are not discussing ILP because there is some problem in Assam. Implementation of ILP is a big problem, but I think in Meghalaya it can be implemented.”
On the need to take other surrendered militants into the forum, Chetia said, “We have already discussed with those who surrendered or still in the peace process, because we don’t want to go again to jungle or send anybody to jungle. Through democratic way, we want to fight against government’s initiative to finish our identity and culture.”
When asked about the status of ULFA peace talks, Chetia hoped the process would resume after the decision on CAB and some positive result may come from the Centre.
On the need to get Paresh Baruah to the negotiating table to ensure lasting peace in Assam, Chetia said that it all depends on the people of Assam and the government of India and the ULFA (I) will also decide what they will do in future.
“We have appealed several times to him (Paresh) but he is not mentally prepared to come forward. We would like to request the government of India to take some initiative to bring him to the peace process. But one thing is that the Naga peace process which started since 1997 is yet to see solution. May he is learning from the Naga peace talk. Therefore there should be some solution which will be some encouragement to him also,” Chetia said.