The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ulfa peace hope relit
- Moily has it in him to restore amity, says Mamoni

Guwahati, Oct. 13: Senior AICC leader and newly-appointed in-charge of Assam Congress, Veerappa Moily, and writer Mamoni Raisom Goswami, two old friends, today fuelled hopes that the jinxed peace process with Ulfa might be revived.

On the second day of his three-day maiden visit to the state, a guarded Moily told reporters that the Ulfa problem was not merely a law and order one and the party would look into it.

“I am for peace. My party is committed to lasting peace and all steps will be taken to provide democratic space to those who feel alienated within the Constitution. We are responsible and sensitive to the issue. We want peace at any cost,” he said, when it was pointed out that the Ulfa blamed the government for not taking the peace process seriously.

“The administrative reforms commission has gone through the conflict situation in the country, including the Northeast. It has tried to address the problem, which is not merely a law and order one. There are other issues like employment and livelihood. The commission’s report, which has tried to address all critical and conflict issues, will be out in around 20 days,” he added.

Moily said he had called on his old friend Indira Goswami last evening to enquire about her health. Mamoni had recently suffered a stroke and is recuperating.

“But the interaction was confined to literature. I discussed a book I am writing on Draupadi,” he said, adding that he had never offered to play the role of a mediator in the Ulfa peace process.

Goswami said the hourlong meeting was mainly confined to her health and literature. “We are old friends and he even knows my family closely. He is not only a politician, but also a litterateur and a humanist. He did not talk about the peace process, but wanted to discuss it later after I fully recover. Both of us want lasting peace. Let us see what is in store.

“He has it in him to do something on the peace front. He is very keen to understand the problems of Ulfa and Assam and address it in the best possible way,” she added.

Indicating that Moily had done his homework, Goswami said he had met Gauhati University professor Nanigopal Mahanta, who has done extensive research on the problem of insurgency three months ago. “He was keen to understand the problem and took feedback from Mahanta,” she added.

Goswami was part of the peace process between Delhi and the Ulfa-constituted People’s Consultative Group till it hit a roadblock in September last year.

After the news conference this morning, Moily met chief minister Tarun Gogoi and then visited Dibrugarh and Tinsukia where he met party workers.


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