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Hush-hush outfit-cop talks on

Silchar, Jan. 10: Talks between the intelligence wing of Assam police and leaders of United Democratic Liberation Front of Barak Valley, a Reang rebel outfit, have been reportedly under way in the Katlicherra block of Hailakandi district since the past few weeks.

Sources said a senior police intelligence officer visited Hailakandi last month and secretly met members of the outfit, which was earlier known as the United Democratic Liberation Army (UDLA).

Formed 10 years ago, UD-LA changed its name last year. Police sources in Hailakandi said the outfit was now lying low as frequent encounters with Assam, Tripura and Mizoram police had sapped its resources.

The two frontline leaders of the outfit, the chief of its armed band, Fuleshwar Rea-ng, and chairman Dhana-yram Reang were arrested last year. Though The Telegraph talked to the director-general of police, south Assam range, Vinod Kumar, he said he was not aware of any such talks.

Another senior Hailakandi police officer, however, said a woman panchayat leader, Ubati Reang, who knew the rebel leaders, was acting as a mediator in the talks.

Ubati told this correspondent today that though she had “heard” about preliminary talks being under way between police and the rebels, she was not aware of subsequent developments. It was Ubati who had mediated the 2007 negotiations between the police and the now disbanded United Liberation Front of Barak Valley. Pau-chau Ram Reang, the chairman of the outfit, surrendered in Guwahati along with over 300 rebels on September 30, 2008.