Fresh peace talks between Centre, Assam govt, and ULFA yield no breakthrough

The Centre and the Assam government participated in renewed talks with the faction of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) that favors peaceful dialogue on Thursday and Friday in New Delhi. However, according to sources, the negotiations did not lead to notable progress.

This marks the first instance of talks since ULFA’s dismissal of a peace proposal put forth by the Centre in May of the previous year. ULFA’s refusal stemmed from their belief that the proposal did not adequately address their primary requisites for safeguarding the political and constitutional interests of Assam’s indigenous populace.

Leading the four-member ULFA delegation was Arabinda Rajkhowa, the chairman, along with members Anup Chetia, Sasadhar Choudhury, and Raju Barua. Representing the government, interlocutor AK Mishra helmed the team, which included officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

The initial draft of the peace agreement was founded on ULFA’s 12-point list of demands submitted in 2011. Among these were provisions for constitutional and political reforms, protection of the identity and material resources of Assam’s native inhabitants, land and natural resource considerations, and the preservation of native land rights. While the draft pact did incorporate provisions for land rights as advocated by ULFA, it failed to address the broader concern of political and constitutional safeguards for the indigenous people, which stands as a prominent political matter.

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