March 6, 2019 9:17:00 pm
ULFA (pro-talks) leader Arabinda Rajkhowa on Wednesday said he hopes to reach a final decision on peace talks with the Government of India after the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Speaking to indianexpress.com after attending a gathering of returned insurgents at Khumulwng, 25 km from here, Rajkhowa said the peace talks are being delayed due to the “colonial attitude of the government” and constitutional issues.
Khumulwng is headquarters of Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), which is spread across two third of Tripura’s geographical space.
“The identity of our people was put at risk due to the colonial attitude of the Government of India. We are in peace talks with the government and they have given us respect. But the talks are getting delayed due to several Constitutional issues,” Rajkhowa said. “The talks were delayed due to few reasons. We don’t hope to have any final solution before the Lok Sabha elections. But a solution is likely after the polls.”
He also said that returnee insurgents of Tripura were not given due respect. Rajkhowa, who is leading the pro-peace faction of ULFA, also joined a conference of Tripura United Indigenous People’s Coordination Committee (TUIPC), a joint forum of 48 returnee insurgent organizations in the state.
TUIPC convener and former All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) supremo Ranjit Debbarma said only 7,000 out of 20000-odd returned in Tripura were rehabilitated by the state government. Others are leading a life of severe poverty and crisis, many doing daily chores for others for a life, Debbarma said.
Tribal armed insurgency, which swelled between 1980 and late 2000s in Tripura, largely came down during the previous Manik Sarkar government’s rule due to lucrative offers of immediate grant of Rs. 1.5 lakh, vocational training for 36 months and a stipend of Rs.2000/- per month during training. Minor crime cases against those who were successfully rehabilitated were also assured to be withdrawn.
Arabinda Rajkhowa alias Mijanur Rahaman Choudhury used to be one of the top rung leaders of ULFA till he was arrested in Bangladesh in 2009. He was granted bail by a special TADA court in 2011 after which he announced that he was ready for peace talks with the Government of India. The peace talks are yet to be finalized.
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