Stage set for peace accord with UPDS: CM

Spl Correspondent of Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, Nov 4 – Even as the ULFA peace process is inching forward, the stage is set for signing of a peace accord with the UPDS, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi divulged this today.

Release of detained ULFA and DHD (J) leaders to pave the way for dialogue has emerged as the immediate hurdle in the peace process.

Briefing newsmen, the Chief Minister said Central interlocutor PC Haldar has briefed him about the progress of the peace process with different militant outfits. He has reported good progress.

Most immediately, the stage is set for signing of a peace accord with the UPDS, while release of detained leaders of ULFA and DHD (J) remains the main issue now, said the Chief Minister.

“These leaders are in judicial custody and we cannot tell the courts to release them. I cannot dictate to courts,” he said.

First they have to come out and then decide, he said, adding that the State Government has not been opposing their bail plea. But the government has been in touch with those released by the court including vice-chairman Pradip Gogoi.

Declining to give a time table, Gogoi said government was working towards fixing the modalities by December.

He reiterated that the entire process is being executed in consultation with the Centre. Union Home Minister

P Chidambaram had last week said that the Chief Minister would decide on the timing of the talks. “We are working in complete understanding with Chidambaram,” he added.

About ULFA military chief Paresh Barua, the Chief Minister reiterated that till date the government has not received any signal from him. “We still want him to come but even if he does not turn up, we will go ahead with the peace process,” Gogoi said.

Leaving none in doubt that the Gogoi government would make the peace process a political issue during the election, the Chief Minister said gone are days when fear ruled the State. There is a sense of security among the people. The changed scenario has instilled confidence among the people so much so that voices are being raised against militancy, he claimed.

Meanwhile, Gogoi today indicated that the resumption of the stalled pilot project of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) might take time, as a foolproof procedure is being worked out.

The Union Home Minister had conveyed to AGP Rajya Sabha MP Kumar Deepak Das that the pilot project would be completed within the December 31 deadline.

The Chief Minister, however, said the problem over procedure would have to be sorted out, to ensure that no Indian citizen is left out and no foreigners are included. “We may need time as the process has to be foolproof, he said.

On withdrawal of former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta’s Black Cat security cover, Gogoi pleaded ignorance stating that it was done directly by the Home Ministry.

“We had no idea and we were not consulted,” he claimed.

The Chief Minister stated that when he learnt about the development, he checked with his officials and learnt the orders had come from Delhi.

Clarifying that Mahanta would be entitled to normal security cover, Gogoi wondered how he would gain, if Black Cat cover of Mahanta was withdrawn. “We have defeated him, when he had Black Cat cover, so politically we have nothing to gain from this,” he argued.


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