The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dispur talks tough on Ulfa

Guwahati, June 16: Dispur today asked Delhi to make it clear to the Ulfa-constituted People’s Consultative Group during their next meeting that violence and talks could not go hand-in-hand.

The third round of talks between the PCG and a Union home ministry team is slated for June 22.

The Tarun Gogoi government’s views were conveyed to Rajiv Agarwal, joint secretary in-charge of Northeast in the home ministry, during a stock-taking meeting chaired by chief secretary S. Kabilan in Guwahati.

A source said senior police and army officials were of the view that Dispur should not allow its commitment to the peace process to be viewed by Ulfa as a weakness. “The Ulfa leadership cannot play a double game. This message has to be conveyed in no uncertain terms. The time has come to choose between ceasefire and full-fledged operations. We have requested the home ministry to make it clear to the PCG that both cannot continue simultaneously.”

Apart from causing casualties and damage to vital installations, the blasts since June 8 have been embarrassing for Dispur.

“Ulfa says it is not behind the attacks. If not, then who is' One cannot run with the hare and hunt with the wolves,” the source said.

The chief secretary said Agarwal’s “exploratory mission” was a prelude to the third round of talks with the PCG. “It was an internal meeting. He wanted to know about the latest incidents of violence, the background of the peace process and all such details. The talks are on and we are very much committed to the peace process.”

The chief secretary also revealed that the state government had not been invited to participate in the talks.

In another development, four arrested persons who claim to be Ulfa members reiterated their allegations against Ulfa chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa after the outfit's commander-in-chief, Paresh Barua, issued a telephonic clarification to some local newspapers last night.

The quartet last night accused Rajkhowa of planning to kill them. They said several top leaders of the outfit had already been exterminated. They substantiated the claim with a letter purportedly written by Rajkhowa to Barua.

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