The Centre has decided not to grant further extension to P C Haldar, the interlocutor for peace talks in Assam. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) plans to hold further peace talks with ULFA and other factions on its own, sources said. Haldar, a 1970-batch IPS officer who was IB director between 2007 and 2009, was appointed as Assam interlocutor in 2009. His term ended on December 31, 2016. He had earlier been given extensions on several occasions.
MHA officials said that orders were issued early this month informing Haldar that the “competent authority has decided not to extend the term of the interlocutor”. He was directed by the MHA to submit the representations received from various factions till December 30, 2016, the officials said.
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When contacted by The Indian Express, Haldar refused to comment.
Sources said that the Centre plans to take the dialogue process ahead on its own, now that Assam has a BJP government under Sarbananda Sonowol. “There were also demands from some factions of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (P) to remove Haldar,” said another official requesting anonymity.
Earlier, the Narendra Modi government got top ULFA leader Anup Chetia extradited from Bangladesh and released on bail ahead of Assembly polls in Assam.
According to the MHA, Haldar held consultations with Dima Halam Daogah (Jewel), United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), and in 2011 was key to the tripartite Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) signed between the central government, government of Assam and UPDS that aimed to provide enhanced autonomy for Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council in Assam and a special package for speedier socio-economic and educational development of the area for which the council was set up.
As part of their demands, ULFA leaders had sought increase in the monthly stipend of
Rs 3,000 to Rs 10,000 and allocation of a plot of land to set up Assam National Trust. The MHA is still examining the demands. Officials said there might be a nominal hike in stipend, but not as much as Rs 10,000. ULFA and other factions also want their cadres be rehabilitated, which includes withdrawal and review of cases relating to heinous crimes as per the existing policy.
Talks between the Centre and ULFA were on hold for a while in 2016 due to the impending Supreme Court judgment on petitions seeking 1951 as the cut-off year for citizenship of people residing in Assam instead of 1971 as per the Assam Accord. The case is currently being monitored by the SC.