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Time-bound peace talks must: Rijiju

Guwahati, June 7: The Centre today said talks with militant groups for peace in the Northeast could not be “too lengthy,” as it allows space to the groups to reinforce themselves and challenge the country again.

“We cannot just bring them (militant groups) to the negotiating table and start talking for long — not to the extent of creating space for such forces to fight against us by taking leverage of such talks or other negotiations. At the same time, we should not overlook the concerns of the people,” Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju said after reviewing the law and order situation in Assam.

Rijiju’s visit to Assam follows the killing of Hamren superintendent of police Nityananda Goswami and his proximate security officer (PSO) Ratul Nunisa during an operation against the militant Karbi People’s Liberation Tigers (KPLT) on Thursday.

The Union minister held discussions with chief minister Tarun Gogoi and police and government officials about the steps required to improve law and order.

“We thought the security situation here had improved. But the recent incidents are making us think differently. We will give all support to the state but there is a need to improve the sense of commitment of the police forces. If the state is weak, central forces alone will not help,” the minister said.

The home ministry today agreed to deploy five CoBRA units of the CRPF and extended the deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) for another three months following a request from the Assam government. The additional 36 companies of CAPF deployed in the BTAD were slated for withdrawal on June 11. There are 58 companies of CAPF in the state.

Rijiju, who had come to convey his condolences to the bereaved families and collect information on the prevailing law and order situation, conveyed the Centre’s stand on security issues. This is his first visit as Union minister of state for home to Assam, which he considers the “heartland” of the Northeast.

While appealing for reason, he also hit out at the militants for doing a “great disservice” to the Northeast. He warned them not to see India as a “soft” country.

“We from the Northeast complain about mistreatment and racial discrimination in places such as Delhi and Mumbai but we are killing each other...killing our own in the Northeast. Those who are killing our own people are doing a big disfavour to our region,” he said.

Observers say the government should make the talks process with militants time-bound and not too lengthy. Talks with the breakaway groups of National Democratic Front of Bodoland, Karbi Longri National Liberation Front and Dima Halam Daogah were so lengthy that their cadres got disillusioned with the process and formed splinter groups to carry out extortion, abduction and killings.

Arabinda Rajkhowa, who leads the pro-talks group of Ulfa, recently appealed to the Narendra Modi government to speed up talks for a peaceful political solution.


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