Paresh Baruah

United Liberation Front of Assam-Independent (ULFA-I) chief Paresh Barua said on Saturday that the proscribed outfit would come to the negotiation table if the government agrees to talk on the core issue of sovereignty.

In a telephonic conversation with The Assam Tribune, Baruah said the outfit would not join talks till the government agrees to discuss the core issue.

“If the government gives us in writing that it would talk on the core issue, we will definitely respond in a positive way,” the newspaper quoted Baruah as saying.

He also claimed that the ULFA (I) would be able to fill up the void created by the surrender of deputy commander-in-chief Drishti Rajkhowa.

Since the formation of ULFA, a number of senior leaders and cadres left the outfit, but new members filled up the void, Baruah said.

He said the ULFA (I) would always respect the contribution of Rajkhowa to the armed movement, but the void created by his surrender would be filled up.

He said a new head of the western command of the outfit has already been appointed.

The ULFA (I) chief pointed out that since the outfit’s formation, the chairman’s post was occupied by three persons.

In 1992, a large number of senior leaders and cadres came out of the outfit.

Again, in 2010, eight central committee members, including the chairman, came overground to start talks with the government.

“They also managed to take away a number of district committee members as well as members of three of the four battalions of the outfit. But the outfit managed to survive even after such a setback. This proves that surrender of a few persons would not finish off the movement,” he claimed.

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