Sonowal urges ULFA (I) chief Paresh Baruah to join peace talks
Kokrajhar (Assam), Feb. 10 (PTI): Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday urged United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent) chief Paresh Baruah to join peace talks with the government and be a part of Indian democracy.
Sonowal made the call to the ULFA (I) chief while addressing a function of 18th Bodoland Day celebration in Kokrajhar district.
The issue of holding talks with the proscribed ULFA- Independent was discussed between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Assam chief minister last week.
Paresh Baruah had recently told a local news channel that he was ready for talks if even a “one-line letter” was sent to him by the government, keeping his demand for sovereignty in Assam as an agenda of discussion.
Sonowal said his government had set the goal for an insurgency-free Assam at the time of taking over charge of the state in 2016.
As a result of committed efforts by his government, several path-breaking achievements have been made, he said.
The chief minister sought support from all sections of the society in establishing peace in the state and hailed the insurgent outfits of Bodoland who laid down their arms.
Sonowal termed the recently signed Bodo Peace Accord as a historic step in this direction and said this would not only help in fulfilling the aspirations of Bodo people but also the communities who have been living in areas under the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), an autonomous district council.
Paying tributes to “Bodofa” Upendra Nath Brahma who had led the movement for separate Bodoland in Assam, Sonowal said the Bodo people have set an example with the peace accord which inspired all Indians.
Dispelling apprehensions that the peace accord would hamper the interests of other communities, he clarified that along with the Bodos, all the communities living in the BTC would get equal dignity and opportunity.
This will further take all the communities forward and help in building a more united and peaceful society, Sonowal said, adding that in today’s competitive world, everyone will have to work together to take the state forward.
Speaking on the occasion, BTC chief Hagrama Mahilary said the celebration of the Bodoland Day is not meant for the Bodos alone but also for all communities living in the BTC.
Pro-peace talk ULFA general secretary Anup Chitia appealed to both the government and ULFA (I) supremo Paresh Baruah to come forward for talks for the better interest of the people of Assam.