ULFA (Independent) chief Paresh Baruah is willing to come to the negotiating table and engage in talks with the central government provided the latter considers the ULFA’s “sovereignty” demand as a political issue rather than bracketing the outfit’s strife as a law-and-order problem. Speaking exclusively to News Live’s chief managing editor Syed Zarir Hussain over phone from an undisclosed location, the ULFA(I) chief said notwithstanding the outcome of any such discussions — if they at all take place — he is ready to engage himself in talks with the Centre provided the government considers their core demand of ‘sovereignty’ as a political issue and not something related only to law and order.
#BigBreaking : Ready to come to the talks table if Government of #India considers our demand of sovereignty for #Assam as a political issue rather than bracketing our strife as a law & order problem, #ULFA chief #PareshBaruah tells #NewsLive chief managing editor @ZarirHussains pic.twitter.com/PgKrIf2jVK
— NEWS LIVE (@NewsLiveGhy) May 5, 2018
“Sovereignty of Assam is our birth right. We want 100 per cent assurance that the issue of sovereignty will be discussed. The Government of India should consider it as a political issue and not view our strife as a law-and-order problem. It’s a different matter what the outcome of any such discussions is. Whether we get independence, how we present our case is a separate issue,” Paresh Baruah said when asked as to whether he will come to the negotiating table if the central government does not set any terms and condition for peace talks.
The chief of the recalcitrant militant outfit further said had there been talks on the “sovereignty” issue, there won’t have been any bloodshed. He also said the outfit was not formed to kill any son of the soil but to achieve a “sovereign” Assam, something he said was his “birthright”.
“There is nothing called returning to the mainstream. We are in the mainstream since we are sons and daughters of the soil. We were forced to take up arms for Assam’s independence and not to kill our own brethren,” the ULFA(I) chief further said, adding that the outfit did not intentionally kill Bordumsa OC Bhaskar Kalita but was shot-at by the outfit’s militants in self-defence.