ULFA (I) Chief Paresh Baruah.

Guwahati:  Assam government is directly or indirectly in touch with the ULFA (I) leadership to bring them to the negotiation table, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said.

Chief Minister Sarma, who also holds the home portfolio, on Thursday told reporters in New Delhi that efforts are on to bring ULFA (I)  led by Paresh Baruah to talks with the government.

“We have told people about the issues we have with ULFA. However, despite that, we are directly and indirectly in touch with the ULFA leadership. I am hopeful of resolving this issue within this (five-year) tenure,” Sarma said.

Regarding peace talk with KLO chief  Jiban Singha, Sarma said, “He (Jiban Singha) has joined the mainstream a few days back… Let him take rest for some time then he will start discussions with the government.”

Singha, along with nine members of his outfit, surrendered before the security forces in the Longwa region in Nagaland’s Mon district Last Friday.

The KLO chief is expected to join the peace talks with the Central government soon.

Sarma in his Independence Day speech last year had said that sovereignty is non-negotiable.

ULFA-I had twice extended the unilateral ceasefire in 2021. Restoration of Assam’s sovereignty is one of the core demands of the outfit.

KLO chief Jiban Singha formed the group in 1995. Its demands include a separate state with parts of Cooch Behar, Malda, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur and Jalpaiguri districts of West Bengal, as well as four districts of Assam — Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Dhubri and Goalpara — Kishanganj in Bihar and Jhapa district in Nepal.

The KLO cadres claim that the organisation’s aim is to address the problems of the Koch Rajbongshi people, including large-scale unemployment, land alienation, perceived neglect of the Kamtapuri language, economic deprivation, etc.

Earlier, just before last year’s Independence Day, Singha had issued an appeal to the President and the Prime Minister of India to meet the outfit’s longstanding demand for a separate Kamtapur state.

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