Paresh Baruah
Paresh Baruah. File photo

Guwahati: Indian Army’s Eastern Command chief Lt Gen RP Kalita on Monday said that hardliner ULFA (I) chief Paresh Barua is unlikely to come forward for a peace talk with the Centre.

“My inference is, I think, no. In yesterday’s interview with a local channel, he categorically said no to dialogue unless the sovereignty issue is discussed,” General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command, Lt Gen Kalita told reporters in Guwahati.

On being asked about reports of recruitment by ULFA (I) in the last one year, he said, “Yes, we have seen this and it is a concern for us. They have recruited people from both Upper and Lower Assam regions. These are mostly done through social media.”

He claimed that most of the youths joining the ULFA (I) have already had criminal backgrounds.

The Eastern Command chief said the rebel groups in Northeast have lost their “ideological moorings” and are sustaining through extortion as well as arms and drugs smuggling.

“The insurgent groups are trying to sustain themselves by resorting to extortion along with arms and drugs smuggling. A time will come when they will join the mainstream,” Kalita said.

Regarding the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), he said that after the law was withdrawn from various parts of the Northeast, some number of forces have been “de-inducted” and shifted to the northern areas.

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