Guwahati, June 14: Delhi has asked a senior home ministry official to visit Guwahati for a “factual” assessment of “priority issues” before its June 22 talks with the Ulfa-constituted People’s Consultative Group (PCG).
A source in the chief minister’s office said Rajiv Agarwal, joint secretary in charge of Northeast in the Union home ministry, would be meeting senior officials of the Assam government on Friday to take stock of security-related issues in the wake of Ulfa’s latest terror spree.
He said Agarwal would carry back to Delhi a “fact sheet” that would dictate the agenda for the talks with the PCG. The Prime Minister’s Office recently pulled itself out completely from the dialogue, leaving the job to the home ministry.
“As things stand today, the home ministry official will attend a meeting chaired by chief secretary S. Kabilan in Guwahati on Friday. The meeting will try to shed light on recent happenings and the forces behind these incidents. The release of incarcerated Ulfa leaders, as recommended by Dispur, will also figure in the discussions,” the source said.
The PCG, too, will be doing an assessment of the prevailing situation in Guwahati tomorrow. One of its members, Lachit Bordoloi, declined to say exactly what he and his compatriots would discuss. “If there is anything, we will let you know,” he said.
The disclosure that Agarwal is headed for Assam came a day after writer and mediator Mamoni Raisom Goswami was politely told by home ministry mandarins that Delhi would take a “second look” at the feasibility of continuing the peace process if Ulfa remained anchored to violence.
“Home ministry officials did express their displeasure in no uncertain terms,” a source confirmed.
Raisom Goswami had admitted to The Telegraph after a meeting with Union home secretary V.K. Duggal yesterday that it would be difficult to carry forward the peace talks if violence continued.
The Ulfa leadership’s denial of its involvement in the attacks has found no takers in either Dispur or Delhi. The Congress-led government has made it clear that it will do everything in its power to take the peace process to the next level, but not at the cost of lives and public property.
Dispur has asked for additional security forces to tide over the crisis triggered by a series of blasts since June 8.
Governor Ajai Singh completed a stock-taking visit to Upper Assam this afternoon. He held meetings with officials of the district administration and Oil India Ltd, whose installations have been repeatedly targeted by Ulfa.