ULFA Peace Talks
Progress Amid Hurdles
By Swati Deb
It is a case of a glass half full or a glass half empty. The beauty ofa thing lies in the eye of the beholder.This paradoxical kind of situation, the ‘pro-talk faction’ of ULFA finds itself in is undoubtedly its own making and, it will be erroneous to find fault with that too.
In what is already being dubbed by the Paresh Barua faction of the ULFA as a ‘sell out’, a neo-pragmatic approach on the other hand is that the flexibility of Arabinda Rajkhowa and his team marked the beginning of a formal political dialogue with the Government of India. As they say, ‘The ice has been broken’.
The reference is to ULFA’s announcement in New Delhi on the 5th of August, 2011 that “sovereignty does not mean secession”.
A seven-member delegation of ULFA led by its Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa submitted a 12-point ‘broad charter of negotiations’ to the Union Home Secretary R. K Singh while indicating that it has given up its original demand of freedom for ‘Aai Asom’.
Fielding questions from journalists after the meeting, the suave ULFA Foreign Secretary Shasadhar Choudhury dispelled notions of ‘compromising on sovereignty’ demand but maintained in the same breath that, “sovereignty does not mean secession”.
“In fact, ULFA movement never started with the goal of secession ….. it was to ensure the respect of motherland and the indigenous people,” he said tongue-in-cheek.