The top leadership of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) today held the second round of peace talks with the central and the state governments,and demanded that the two act speedily to address its concerns including protection of the rights of indigenous people of Assam.
The Home Ministry said tangible progress had been achieved at todays 90-minute meeting while the ULFA leadership expressed satisfaction and continued to take the talks forward. Neither side revealed the specifics of the progress made at todays meeting.
It was a very constructive and fruitful discussion. I think we have achieved very good progress in the meeting, Home Secretary R K Singh told reporters after the meeting,which was attended by officials of Assam and West Bengal as well.
ULFA had submitted a charter of demands in August last year,ahead of the first round of talks in October,comprising of 12 specific concerns it wants the government to address.
ULFA leader Arabinda Rajkhowa said all their concerns,including the contentious issues,came up for discussion at the meeting. We discussed all issues concerning Assams peace and development. We all agreed to carry forward the dialogue process, he said.
The Home Ministry said that the central governments interlocutor,P C Haldar,had been requested to follow up on the meeting and hold further talks with ULFA leaders to discuss some of the issues in detail.
ULFA has been claiming that Assams original inhabitants have been reduced to a minority because of illegal immigration from Bangladesh and the governments at the Centre and the State must come up with special safeguards to protect the rights of indigenous people.