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Ulfa sets ceasefire term for talks

Guwahati, Nov. 16: The Ulfa may declare a truce to pave the way for talks if the Centre and the state government “take the initiative of declaring a unilateral ceasefire first”.

Disclosing this here today, arrested Ulfa vice-chairman Pradip Gogoi said he could take the “initiative of bringing the parties concerned to the negotiating table if I am authorised to do so by my (Ulfa’s) central leadership.”

However, since Gogoi has lost touch with the Ulfa since his arrest in Calcutta in April 1998, a top official of the state home department said he would not “know much about the Ulfa’s thought processes today”.

But senior functionaries of the Kamrup district jail where Gogoi has been lodged for more than four years now told The Telegraph that “he has been keeping himself abreast with all relevant developments,” implying that his suggestion for a “unilateral ceasefire from the government’s side may carry some weight”.

An edition of Ulfa’s fortnightly mouthpiece Freedom, which was released on the internet this afternoon, said the ongoing talks between the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) and the Centre would be an “acid test” of “Indian sincerity”. It said the outfit has the patience to wait till the “Indo-Naga” conflict was resolved.

The Ulfa stated in its mouthpiece that the outfit is “sincere” with its preconditions. “These preconditions are the consequences of Indian trickery experienced in the past. The former 16-point Naga agreement, the Mizo accord and the Assam Accord are the mirror of our suspicion of Indian sincerity and so we set preconditions for the good health of a most sought- after peaceful negotiation,” it added.

Speaking to newspersons in the premises of the designated court here this morning, the Ulfa vice-chairman exhorted the people of the state to take a cue from the Naga Hoho for exerting pressure on the Centre to create an atmosphere for negotiations through a unilateral ceasefire.

He said for any dialogue, the Centre and the state government must establish their “goodwill and sincerity” by unilaterally declaring cessation of “hostilities and repressive action.”

Referring to the recent killing of two Ulfa activists in an encounter with the police in the city, he accused the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government of indulging in “open killings”.

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