Paresh Baruah

The ULFA (I) has denied media reports that the outfit continued to engage in massive extortion drive despite a unilateral declaration of ceasefire last month.

“Since we declared a unilateral ceasefire on May 15 this year, none of our units have collected any money from businessmen, citizens, or anybody else. All allegations to this effect are false and malicious,” ULFA (I) publicity wing member “Lieutenant” Rumel Asom said in a statement on Tuesday.

He said that the Indian Army and Assam Police were responsible for spreading such rumors.

“Our leadership unilaterally declared the ceasefire because they wanted to create a climate of peace and trust,” said Rumel Asom.

“Without such an atmosphere, no meaningful discussions for resolving the conflict will be possible. But the Army and state police have vested interest in perpetuating the conflict, so they are spreading rumours and creating confusion,” he said.

The proscribed outfit said that the security establishment may be under the impression that a financially weakened ULFA will sit for talks and accept “anything offered to them by Delhi”.

“The ULFA will never bargain with the interests of Assam. It will rather fight on but it wanted to give peace a chance. That should not be read as weakness,” said the outfit.

“Whether we are financially weak or not, it has nothing to do with our political stance,” added the ULFA (I).

ULFA-I chief Paresh Baruah on May 15 had declared a unilateral ceasefire for the next three months.

The proscribed outfit said that it decided to suspend its all military operations for the next three months unilaterally in view of the Covid-19 induced situation.

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