The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Now, PCG wants letter from Dispur

Guwahati/Dibrugarh, Oct. 15: The Ulfa-constituted Peopleís Consultative Group today sought a communiqué from Dispur on the frozen peace process with the militant group.

With the Ulfa gunning down two businessmen in less than 24 hours since yesterday, the pressure group said Dispur could do better than to rush to the media instead of formulating a strategy to revive the dialogue.

On Friday, the co-ordination committee that liases between the Congress and the government asked Dispur to make things happen in the peace process with Ulfa instead of waiting for something to happen.

Insisting that the mediators had only pulled out of negotiations with the Centre in protest against resumption of army operations and not backed out of the peace process, PCG convener Lachit Bordoloi said the governmentís offer of free passage to Ulfa members or other such steps held little meaning in the absence of a well-defined line of action.

Referring to Delhi and Dispurís insistence on a formal communiqué from the outfit stating its willingness to sit for talks, Bordoloi said the powers-that-be should lead by example instead of going public only to create confusion and earn brownie points.

Justifying the need for a formal communiqué, the PCG member pointed out that the group of mediators had similarly communicated its stand to the national security adviser and the Prime Minister before receiving an invitation for talks.

ďThe government can write to our team leader Mukul Mahanta or any other member about what it proposes to do and we can convey the same to the outfit. After all, everything now has boiled down to faith and if it is a question of having everything in black and white, let the government spell out its plans similarly. We were, are and will remain committed to the peace process,Ē Bordoloi said.

He also ruled out any possibility of the outfit accepting the safe passage offer. He stressed that the pre-talks core demand of the outfit remains the suspension of army operations and release of the five jailed leaders.

Bordoloi further said the Peopleís Committee for Peace Initiatives, of which he is one of the chief co-ordinators, was yet to receive any communication from the administration regarding its request for an audience with president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who will begin a three-day visit to the Northeast this evening. The PCPI had moved the Kamrup metro administration on Thursday seeking an audience with Kalam.

However, sources indicated that the meeting might not be possible, given the Presidentís tight schedule.

Kalamís visit coincides with a national highway blockade called by the PCPI tomorrow in protest against the resumption of army operations in the state, among others. The PCPI, which has been mobilising public opinion for an early start to talks between the Centre and the Ulfa, has called a 12-hour statewide bandh on Friday in protest against resumption of army operations.

The district administration has beefed up security to ensure that the Presidentís visit passes off smoothly. Raj Bhavan sources said Kalam is expected to reach Borjhar airport by 9.30 pm. He will spend the night at Raj Bhavan and leave for Manipur tomorrow morning. The President is scheduled to attend four functions in Assam, including one in Silchar.

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