ULFA (I) chief Paresh Barua on Saturday expressed his willingness to come to the negation table if the government of India agrees to consider ‘independence of Assam’ on the agenda of the peace-talk.
“We are ready to come to the negotiation table if the issue of the independence of Assam is discussed. We will present our arguments in the negotiation table. We are ready to argue to justify our demands of a sovereign Assam. Let the government of India begin political talk,” Barua told a local news channel over the phone.
Barua was responding to an appeal by slain police official Bhaskar Kalita’s father Khagen Kalita. Bordumsa Police Station Officer in-Charge Bhaskar Kalita was killed in an encounter with ULFA (I) militants on Friday at Kujupathar under Bordumsa Police Station in upper Assam’s Tinsukia district.
Following the incident, the father of the killed police officer on Saturday had appealed to ULFA (I) chief Barua to come out for peace talks. “We have accepted the appeal of Bhaskar Kalita’s father with respect,” Barua added.
Barua further said that the killing of Kalita was not planned and intentional. “Our cadres had to retaliate for self-defence as Kalita led a team of police and CRPF team in the operation against the militants,” Barua added.
Earlier, in September last year, the self-styled military chief of the outfit reiterated that the group would never come to any peace talks unless the government of India was willing to consider “independence of Assam” on the agenda.
“We do not want to participate in any form of peace talks unless the government of India is willing to take the (issue of) independence of Assam into consideration and practice it in their constitution,” Barua had said.
Meanwhile, the Army on Saturday evening released ULFA (I) leader Jaan Asom’s brothers–Ganesh Baruah and Mali Baruah–who were picked up by Army from their home at Konaipathar in Bordumsa following the encounter.
Police sources said a seven-member team of ULFA (I) militants led by Jaan Asom sneaked into Assam via Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang district from its bases in Eastern Nagaland.