Sinlung /
08 February 2010

Letter From ULFA Must For Peace Talks: Assam CM

Tarun-Gogoi New Delhi, Feb 8 : In the run up to the army operations in Myanmar targeting ULFA and Manipur militant camps, the Centre has today alerted Assam Rifles to step up vigilance along the international border.

The Centre and State Government, meanwhile, is expected to firm up the stand on the peace process with ULFA, with Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi today stating that he is planning to raise the issue at the Chief Ministers meeting on Sunday.

Talking to this newspaper, Gogoi endorsing the stand of the Centre on the peace process, emphasised the need for a written communication from the jailed leaders. “We need a letter from the ULA leaders to start the peace process,” he stressed.

“Without some kind of written commitment from the ULFA leaders it will be difficult on our part to start the process. What happens tomorrow if they back out,” Gogoi said.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram last week had stated that though the Centre was willing to start dialogue with the detained leaders, it has so far not received any formal communication.

Meanwhile, the decision to beef up security along the porous Myanmar border was taken at a meeting in the North Block convened by Home Secretary, G K Pillai and attended among others by DG Assam Rifles Lt General K S Yadava, top Army, Intelligence Bureau and RAW officials. The meeting significantly was also joined by State Chief Secretary PC Sarma and DGP Shankar Barua.

As reported, as part of the move to exert pressure on ULFA militants, New Delhi and Myanmar have finalized plans during the recent Home Secretary level talks to mount operations targeting the camps operated by the militants in the neighboring country. After Bhutan and Bangladesh, the focus has now shifted to Myanmar.

The Union Home Secretary today held couple of rounds of meeting with officials of State Government and Assam Rifles to thrash out a strategy to deal with the developing situation. ULFA is reported to be operating at least five major camps in Myanmar, where an estimated 150 cadres are holed up. Besides, the elusive military commander of ULFA Paresh Barua keeps shuttling between China and the Myanmar camps.

Emerging from meeting, the DGP told newsmen that official level meeting today reviewed the internal security situation ahead of the meeting of the Chief Ministers on Sunday.

The Home Ministry today held a meeting of the Chief Secretaries and DGPs to finalize the agenda of the February 7 meeting of the Chief Ministers, which would be attended by the Prime Minister. This meeting was followed by a meeting with the officials of Assam Government.

Sources said that the meeting today reviewed the entire gamut of issues relating to the Myanmar border. It has come to the notice that there has been gross violation of the rules allowing movement of people on both sides of international border.

Though the agreement with Myanmar stipulated free movement of people living across the international border up to 40 Km on either sides, Indian nationals were not being allowed to move beyond 16 Km in Myanmar. While India has been allowing movement up to Imphal.

Assam Rifles on Friday was directed to check documents at the border. The local Deputy Commissioner issues the travel documents. India and Myanmar shares 1600 Km border touching Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. The Assam Rifles has 46 battalions, of which 15 are deployed along the 1,600-km Indo-Myanmar border.

Further, Assam Rifles has proposed to raise 26 additional battalions to check the movement of militants and criminals through the porous Indo-Myanmar border as its present strength of 46 battalions is considered ‘inadequate’.


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