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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Indian Govt welcomes ULFA ceasefire, to suspend operations

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, July 13, IRNA -- The Centre and the Assam government on Wednesday welcomed the unilateral ceasefire announced by ULFA's pro-talk faction in Assam and responded by saying an agreement with the banned outfit to suspend operations to facilitate early talks will be signed.

Home Minister P Chidambaram said the Centre has always expressed its willingness to hold a dialogue with any militant group that abjures violence, lays down arms and seeks a solution through peaceful democratic means.

'The Government of India welcomes the announcement made by the ULFA,' he said in a statement in New Delhi.

The Home Minister said it was expected that a Suspension of Operation agreement will be signed and ground rules for observing the agreement will be finalised in the near future.

'The Government of India in consultation with Government of Assam will facilitate an early start to the talks,' he said.

ULFA leaders, including Rajkhowa, had recently met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram and expressed their desire to seek a political solution to their demands.

In a statement in Guwahati, the Assam government said it welcomed Rajkhowa's initiative to come forward for peace talks with the government and will take all steps to facilitate the peace talks.

Meanwhile, Paresh Barua, heading the ULFA's anti-talk faction, however rejected the ceasefire declared by Arabindo Rajkhowa-led group yesterday to ensure a peaceful atmosphere for political negotiations.

'The ceasefire declared by Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa is against the ULFA's constititution and we refuse to accept it,' Barua said in an email to pti.

Citing the ULFA 'constitution', he said no member who had been jailed or was in the custody of 'enemy camp' could take any decision on the ULFA's behalf.

He pointed out that the chairman and some senior members were currently out of jail on bail.

'A ceasefire is declared by soldiers who are at war and not by people who are in the enemy camp. Therefore, the declaration of unilateral ceasefire by the Chairman is unconstitutional as he and the others have no right to take any decision on behalf of the outfit,' Barua said.

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