KLNLF to meet Sonia, Singh

SARAT SARMA

Sonia Gandhi

Nagaon, Aug. 1: Representatives of the Karbi Longri NC Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF) will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on August 14 on the autonomous state issue.

A team of KLNLF leaders, led by the outfit’s general secretary, Rejek Dera, will reach New Delhi on August 11.

The team will have an official discussion with Centre’s interlocutor P.C. Haldar and a meeting with the MPs from some of the the northeastern states.

“We want to share the common issues of the people of Karbi Anglong with the ‘like-minded’ MPs representing tribal-dominated constituencies of Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. We want their support to our statehood struggle,” Dera said.

“The government offered us that we should sit jointly with the United Peoples’ Democratic Solidarity (UPDS), which is seeking a Karbi Anglong territorial council. This is impossible as our demand is more than a territorial council and we will continue our struggle till our statehood demand is granted. This may either be under Article 244 (A) or Article 3 of the Constitution,” he said.

In June, the militant outfit submitted its charter of demands to the Union home ministry in which it included the statehood issue.

On July 23, KLNLF leadership discussed the statehood demand with P.C. Haldar when he was in Guwahati.

“They (Dispur) asked us to refrain from Article 244 (A) as it is against government’s present policy. But we do not think that our dialogue would proceed without that point,” Dera said.

He said their Delhi visit in August is basically to put pressure on the government for a serious and sympathetic consideration of the matter.

The militant group was formed after a faction of UPDS leadership went for political dialogue with Delhi in August 2001. Initially, it was called the UPDS (anti-talks). In 2003, the organisation was renamed the Karbi Longri NC Hills Liberation Front. On February 11, 412 KLNLF cadres laid down arms in Diphu and demanded a political solution to the hemprek kanthim (self-rule homeland) issue.

“Till now we have the Diphu designated camp. A week back a team visited Parakhowa and Rongmongwe where two more camps would be set up. The selection of these two sites came after the May sitting of the joint monitoring committee. Our demand is five designated camps and remaining two would perhaps be considered after the meeting is held in September,” Dera said.

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