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We Don't Want Assam To Secede From India: ULFA

PTI 06 Aug 2011, 13:26:40 IST

New Delhi, August 6: Showing a silver lining to end the long standing insurgency, the ULFA leaders on Friday declared for the first time that they do not want secession from India and would seek some sort of sovereignty within the constitutional framework.

In what may further reduce the remaining clout of commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah in Assam, ULFA's general secretary Anup Chetia would be joining the formal negotiations.

“We have been told by the Home Minister that Anup Chetia will return within weeks. He would be part of the formal negotiations that we are going to have anytime after August 15,” said ULFA's foreign secretary Sasadhar Chowdhury .

The announcement came soon after a seven member ULFA delegation led by chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa met Home Minister P Chidambaram and submitted their 12 point charter of demands.

ULFA is expected to sign suspension of operations agreement with the government and surrender their arms before starting the formal talks.

The charter of demands, on which ULFA wants to hold negotiations, calls for acknowledging ULFA's struggle and genuineness, constitutional and political arrangements aimed at protecting the identity and material resources of indigenous population, solving issues of illegal migration, ethnic issues, border disputes and encroachment and rights on natural resources and to engage in relationship with foreign countries.

“We have to negotiate within the framework of Constitution of India which is a sovereign instrument of India,” Chowdhury said explaining their idea of negotiations on the issue of sovereignty.

“But sovereignty does not mean separation from India,” he added.

The delegation, however, made clear that they would remain stiff on demands of settling the issue of illegal migrants and hoped that Paresh Baruah would also come and join them for peaceful settlement. PTI