GUWAHATI: Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has appealed the ULFA-I to shun violence and return to mainstream.

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma made this appeal during his Republic Day speech in Guwahati on Thursday (January 26).

He said that bringing ULFA-I to negotiations table is the last of the ‘milestones’ in achieving total peace in Assam and the Northeast.

“Today’s Assam is not the one when ULFA was formed. It has changed and so has how people of the state think,” CM Sarma said.

The Assam CM added: “If and when the ULFA-I joins the peace process, permanent peace and overall development will return to the state.”

He said that the Assam government is constantly in touch with the leadership of the ULFA-I to bring the outfit to the talks table.

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Notably, the ULFA-I had called for a general strike on January 26 and appealed to the people of Assam to boycott the Republic Day celebrations.

The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) is an armed separatist organisation operating in the Northeast state of Assam.

It seeks to establish an independent sovereign nation state of Assam for the indigenous Assamese people through an armed struggle.

The Government of India banned the organisation in 1990 citing it as a terrorist organisation, while the United States Department of State lists it under “other groups of concern”.

According to ULFA sources, it was founded on 7 April 1979 at Rang Ghar in Sivasagar district of Assam and began operations in 1990.

Military operations against the ULFA by the Indian Army began in 1990 and continue into the present.

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The ULFA was founded by a group of young men in Assam that included Paresh Baruah, Arabinda Rajkhowa, Anup Chetia, Pradip Gogoi, Bhadreshwar Gohain and Budheswar Gogoi.

The organisation’s purpose was to engage in an armed struggle to form a separate independent state of Assam.

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