The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tips from rebels to break ice with Ulfa

Guwahati, March 18: Politicians and representatives of civil society will sit across leaders of militant groups later this week as part of a unique initiative to ensure convergence of views on the peace process with Ulfa.

The interaction with leaders of militant groups that are in ceasefire with the government is meant to help the government draw up a strategy to break the ice with Ulfa and draw up a roadmap for talks. Ulfa has been the most recalcitrant militant group of the region, turning down every opportunity for “direct” talks.

Representatives of the National Democratic Front of Boroland, the Dima Halam Daogah, the United People’s Democratic Solidarity and the Adivasi Cobra Militants of Assam are expected to not only share their experiences of dealing with the government but also suggest measures for resuming peace talks with Ulfa.

Slated for Thursday and Friday, it will be by far the most novel attempt to end the impasse in the peace process between Delhi and Ulfa.

Disclosing the agenda today, chief co-ordinator of the People’s Committee for Peace Initiatives in Assam (PCPIA), Dilip Patgiri, said all militant outfits in ceasefire with the government would share their views with representatives of various political parties and other organisations.

“The aim is to evolve a broad consensus on ways to restart the peace process. It is the first ever all-encompassing conclave on the peace process, where political parties will share the dais with militant outfits to hammer out a peace formula,” Patgiri said.

The meet has been christened the Jatiya Sanmelan (national conclave).

Patgiri said the main political parties, including the Congress and the AGP, had already agreed to participate in the conclave.

Human rights activists from two other insurgency-hit states of the region, Nagaland and Manipur, will attend the convention.

Apart from political parties, representatives of various social organisations such as the Asam Sahitya Sabha and the All Assam Students’ Union will participate in the interactive sessions.

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