The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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No Ulfa letter on Gogoi radar

Guwahati, July 6: Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi today claimed that Delhi had not informed him about any letter from the banned Ulfa, raising doubts about whether the state government would be allowed to be a participant in the proposed peace talks.

Gogoi said he knew that efforts were under way to bring the militant group to the negotiation table, but was unaware of any letter from the Ulfa to the Prime Minister’s Office. “I have yet to be informed about the developments,” he said during a news conference here.

The Ulfa has sent two letters to the PMO so far and, according to writer Mamoni Raisom Goswami, another one would be delivered this week through a special emissary. Goswami has been mediating between the militant group and Delhi.

Sources said Delhi had probably decided to keep Dispur out of the peace process because the Ulfa has maintained that it would prefer to negotiate only with the Centre. “Going by Gogoi’s comment, Delhi is following the Nagaland example,” a source said.

The NSCN (Isak-Muivah) has been engaged in a dialogue with only Delhi, sidelining the Nagaland government in the process. “We might see a similar situation unfolding during the Ulfa-Centre talks,” the source said.

The Ulfa had written to Delhi recently to clarify that sovereignty was the only “core issue” and must be on the agenda for talks. The militant group also asked for the release of 10 of its members ' six are jailed in Assam ' by citing the necessity of a quorum in its general council to decide on Delhi’s offer of talks.

Gogoi accused the erstwhile AGP-led ministry in Assam and the NDA government at the Centre of not doing anything to end militancy in Assam and block the flow of illegal migrants. He said BJP president L.K. Advani, who had held the home portfolio in the NDA government, was being hypocritical in expressing shock over the overall situation in Assam after not doing anything to improve it when he was in power.

“Advani says the situation in Assam is bhayankar (dreadful). Ask him what he did in his capacity as home minister to resolve the influx issue or ease the Assam’s problems during floods. He did not visit the state once during floods, but attended the Brahmaputra Beach Festival.”

Gogoi’s next target was AGP president Brindaban Goswami. “He expelled his guru (Prafulla Kumar) Mahanta not for the welfare of the state or his party, but for his own advancement.”

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