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Bringing ULFA to the negotiation table

The arrest of two senior ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom) leaders in the first week of November raised apprehensions that the banned outfit could opt for immediate disruptive activities in Assam.

The outfit was angry with the Bangladesh authority as it handed over Shasha Choudhury (its foreign secretary) and Chitraban Hazarika (its finance secretary) to the BSF (Border Security Force). The Indian border security forces were reportedly waiting for them at the Tripura border and finally both the top ULFA leaders came under the custody of the Assam police.

The news of detention of Shasha and Chitraban by ‘some unidentified persons in civilian clothes’ in Dhaka broke out as sensational media headlines from the source of ULFA itself.

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Weavers of Sualkuchi The Spin in the Tale

The approaching of Christmas in Meghalaya indicates that it is time for a class of skilled weavers in Assam’s silk village Sualkuchi to move the shuttles of their looms faster. It is during this time of the year that these weavers of this textile hub, about 150km off Meghalaya’s capital Shillong, get to display their weaving skill on specially designed looms to weave traditional Khasi female dresses with vibrant colours and motifs.

Sualkuchi, known for its centuries old tradition of weaving Assamese silk-products and having world recognition for its unique handloom products, is also successfully producing traditional Khasi silk textile for ages. The annual trade of the traditional Khasi dresses made of mulberry silk in this silk village now runs into several crores.

Hara Kumar Baishya, an entrepreneur living in Phulbari Pahar area near the River Police Station of Sualkuchi has seven handlooms at his home that produce, on an average, 200 pieces of Khasi women’s attire in Mulberry silk, a month. For generations, this traditional weaver’s family has been associated with the skill and today, on an average, he gets Rs 1,600/ for every piece of such silk products, he tells Eastern Panorama.

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