Guwahati: Anticipation is reaching a fever pitch as the Government of India (GoI) and the pro-talk faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) gear up for a groundbreaking signing ceremony scheduled for December 29 in New Delhi. This historic event is poised to be a monumental stride towards lasting peace in Assam.
Led by Anup Chetia and Arvind Rajkhowa, the leadership of ULFA engaged in pivotal discussions in New Delhi today, signalling definitive steps towards a resolution. The ULFA delegation arrived in the capital city from Guwahati, keeping the location of their discussions under wraps.
Sources close to the negotiations reveal that the conclusive draft of the peace agreement, currently undergoing meticulous scrutiny by the Union Government, is set for year-end ratification. This landmark accord is anticipated to surpass prior pacts, focusing on providing unparalleled economic stimulus and robust protections for indigenous communities, making it a linchpin among Assam’s agreements.
Key components of the imminent accord address Assam’s economic resurgence, the resolution of delimitation concerns, and the unwavering fortification of indigenous rights. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has reiterated his commitment to securing a peace accord with ULFA’s pro-talk faction by the month’s end or early in the coming year.
CM Sarma, emphasising the imperative need to halt violent activities in Assam, pointed to recent alleged grenade incidents in upper Assam as impediments to the state’s progress. While expressing openness to dialogues with Paresh Barua, who leads the anti-talk faction of ULFA, the Chief Minister underscored the formidable challenge of reaching consensus on substantial issues.
Despite ongoing intermittent communications, CM Sarma illuminated the complexities inherent in aligning divergent viewpoints to forge a robust agreement. However, the anti-talk faction of ULFA (I), led by Paresh Barua, has recently attempted a resurgence with skirmishes and attempted bombings—a final push perceived by security forces and intelligence communities to thwart the impending accord.
Operating out of northern Myanmar with limited support, Barua’s dissent has resonated through Assam’s media channels. Yet, the region seems poised for a historic reconciliation as it braces for a new chapter of peace and prosperity. The December 29 signing ceremony holds the promise of reshaping Assam’s future and establishing a foundation for enduring harmony. CM Sarma said that once the settlement is reached with the pro-talk faction of the ULFA, the door will be open for Paresh Baruah to come and negotiate his demands with the government of India.