The Ulfa delegation, led by Arabinda Rajkhowa, at Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Borjhar on Thursday. (PTI)
Guwahati, Aug. 4: The Arabinda Rajkhowa-led Ulfa delegation that left for Delhi this afternoon said “protection of interests of Assamese people” was the cornerstone of the charter of demands it would submit to the Centre tomorrow.
“The charter of demands will form the basis of talks. We hope this effort will lead us to the end of the long Assam-India conflict and bring a permanent political solution,” chairman Rajkhowa told reporters at the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Borjhar this afternoon.
The seven-member team comprises, besides Rajkhowa, vice-president Pradip Gogoi, deputy commander-in-chief Raju Barua, foreign secretary Sashadhar Choudhury, finance secretary Chitraban Hazarika, cultural secretary Pranati Deka and publicity secretary Mithinga Daimary. The outfit’s adviser, Bhimakanta Buragohain, also known as Mama, was not part of the delegation.
Rajkhowa refused to divulge the details but Barua said the charter would include more than 10 demands and would be made public tomorrow after they handed it over to the Union home ministry. “Then we will address a news conference to make it public,” he added.
The Ulfa general council had on Sunday approved the charter which was finalised after discussions on the recommendations made by Sanmilita Jatiya Abhibartan, a citizen’s group, here on May 7.
Nearly 300 Ulfa members and leaders met at the Moiradanga designated camp, about 4km from Nalbari, to give the charter a final shape.
Barua said Union home secretary R.K. Singh and a few other senior officials of the ministry were likely to attend tomorrow’s meeting, during which they would submit the charter of demands. Sources said the Centre’s interlocutor P.C. Halder would also attend the meeting.
While the meeting is being seen as a significant development towards working out a political solution to insurgency, Ulfa commander-in-chief Paresh Barua, who has rejected the Rajkhowa group’s decision to start formal talks, is still a cause for concern.
Rajkhowa and his team, however, remained silent on the elusive leader. On the possible handover of Ulfa general secretary Anup Chetia by Bangladesh, Rajkhowa said they had heard the process had begun. “If it happens, it will be good for all,” he added.
They reached Delhi this evening.
The All Assam Gorkha Students’ Union, an apex organisation of Gorkha youths, hoped that the Rajkhowa-led Ulfa group would negotiate the best in lieu of sovereignty.
“We have always been in favour of talks between Ulfa and the Union government to resolve all the issues raised by the group and the organisations supporting the peace process,” the union’s information and publicity secretary Nanda Kirati Dewan said in a release here.
Security has been tightened across the state to thwart any subversive activity ahead of Independence Day.
Chief public relations officer of NF Railway, S. Hajong, said pilot trains being run for security check might be extended till August 15.