In a historic development, the pro-talk faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), which inked a tripartite agreement on December 29 last year, has formally disbanded, marking the conclusion of a 44-year existence, as revealed by a senior leader of the group on Wednesday. The decision to dissolve the outfit was announced after a meeting held in Assam’s Darrang district on Tuesday, as disclosed by ULFA’s General Secretary, Anup Chetia. Under the stipulations of the agreement signed by the central and state governments and ULFA, the organization has committed to renouncing violence, surrendering all weapons within one month, and disbanding.
The resolution was made during the organization’s ultimate assembly in Sipajhar, situated approximately 55 km from Guwahati. This occurred 25 days subsequent to ULFA’s endorsement of a tripartite memorandum of settlement in New Delhi with the Central government and the Assam administration on December 29.
As part of the post-disbandment strategy, a seven-member monitoring committee, with Chetia as the convenor, has been established to oversee the implementation of the tripartite agreement’s various clauses. Additionally, a socio-cultural entity named ‘Asom Jatiya Bikash Mancha’ will be formed, dedicated to safeguarding the cultural and linguistic identity of the society.
Chetia mentioned plans for the committee members to meet Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to formally inform him of the outfit’s dissolution and discuss further steps for agreement implementation.
During the meeting, discussions also took place on a potential organisational structure for rehabilitating the ULFA cadres, integrating them into productive economic activities. The outfit is obligated to vacate all nine designated camps where ULFA members and their families resided since the initiation of talks in 2011.
The formal handover of arms and ammunition to the state government is scheduled for later this month in a ceremonial event. The tripartite agreement, endorsed in New Delhi in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, encompasses various aspects, including ex-gratia payments to the cadres, economic and vocational training funding, government job opportunities based on eligibility, and withdrawal of criminal cases for non-heinous crimes.
The ULFA, founded on April 7, 1979, aimed to establish a sovereign Assam through armed struggle. In 2011, the group splintered, with the pro-talk faction returning to Assam for negotiations without the sovereignty demand. The dissolution announcement comes while another faction, ULFA (Independent), led by Paresh Barua, steadfastly maintains the demand for sovereignty and is yet to engage in talks.