The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Peacemaker in last-ditch plan
- Mamoni puts self on line for truce

Guwahati, Aug. 9: Anxious about the snags in the peace process she initiated, Mamoni Raisom Goswami has now put herself on the line. The writer is planning to seek the release of five jailed Ulfa leaders with a personal guarantee that they will not abscond.

Goswami, who had intended to slowly ease herself out of the peace process but could not do so, said today that she was working on an “out-of-the-box solution” to end the impasse. The statement coincided with the Ulfa-constituted People’s Consultative Group (PCG) announcing plans for a mass movement to speed up the process of a direct Ulfa-Delhi dialogue.

The writer said seeking the release of five senior Ulfa leaders on her “personal bond” was among the various options she was exploring to break the deadlock. Ulfa has been insisting on the release of the five incarcerated leaders for a quorum in its central committee, which will decide whether to go to the negotiating table. On the other hand, Delhi has been asking for a “letter of consent to talks” from the outfit before releasing the five jailed militant leaders.

Goswami appeared reluctant to go into details of her plan, but did say that she and PCG member Rebati Phukan would call on national security adviser M.K. Narayanan and home secretary V.K. Duggal soon with a new formula. “Some new ideas to resolve this issue has come to my mind. I will give them shape after a discussion with Rebati. We will then go to the Centre with our proposals,” the writer said.

Although the release of five militant leaders with a personal guarantee is one of her main ideas, Goswami said nothing had been finalised as yet and that it was premature to even speculate how she would go about the task.

Concerned over the “new hurdles” obstructing the peace process, the PCG said the only way out was a statewide mass movement to pressure Delhi to stick to the decisions arrived at during the third round of preliminary talks with it on July 22.

It was agreed during that round of talks that the Centre would “favourably consider” the release of five jailed Ulfa leaders and both sides would refrain from hostile activities.

PCG member Dilip Patgiri said there was no sign yet of these commitments being fulfilled.

Appealing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to rein in “forces inimical to the peace process”, Patgiri said if Delhi did not facilitate the process by implementing the decisions taken during the third round of talks, the PCG would mobilise “mass opinion” against the “anti-talks stand” of the government.

The PCG, however, did not set a deadline for Delhi to remove the hurdles in the way of a direct dialogue. “Of course, we cannot wait endlessly. But as of now, we have decided to go to the people only. The date and the course of our actions will be decided at the appropriate time,” Patgiri said.

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