Guwahati, Feb 12 (PTI) The Assam government is ready to hold peace talks with the hardliner ULFA (Independent) and doors for negotiations with its chief Paresh Barua are open, Parliamentary Affairs minister Pijush Hazarika said in the state Assembly on Monday.
The Barua-led faction has remained outside the ambit of negotiations even as a peace pact has been signed with the pro-talks group, Hazarika said.
Responding to a discussion on the recently-signed tripartite peace agreement with ULFA, Hazarika, on behalf of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma who also holds the Home department, said the government is willing to hold talks with the ULFA (I) also.
"The ULFA had split into two groups, and the one led by Arabinda Rajkhowa and Anup Chetia, had come forward for talks and the peace pact was signed. The other faction, led by Barua, is yet to engage in talks and rechristened itself as ULFA (I)", he said.
"The government has been repeatedly urging Paresh Barua to come for talks and we feel that peace will be further strengthened in the state if his faction also come overground", the minister added.
The matter was raised by opposition Congress MLA Kamalakshya Dey Purkayastha, who raised apprehensions over the utility of the peace agreement when one of the faction was not a signatory.
The pro-talks ULFA had signed the agreement with the Central and state government in New Delhi on December 29 last year.
Hazarika, replying to a question by another Congress legislator Bharat Chandra Narah, laid in the House that the peace agreement with the ULFA has 12 clauses.
Among these are clauses dealing with political demands, Scheduled Tribe status for six communities, reservations in education and jobs, illegal migration, and matters dealing with identity, culture, heritage, etc.
The minister said a joint committee comprising representatives of Central and state governments and the ULFA will monitor the implementation of the various clauses from time to time. PTI SSG SSG RG