Guwahati, Jan. 1 (ANI): The release of top United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) founding general Secretary Anup Chetia from jail is a sign that peace could return to Assam soon.
Chetia’s joining the pro-talk faction of the ULFA has only strengthened the peace initiative that the government of India had begun with the ULFA three-years ago.
On November 24, ULFA general secretary Golap Baruah alias Anup Chetia was released from Guwahati central jail after 18 years of incarceration in Bangladesh and prisons in India.
The court had granted him bail in the last of the four cases registered against him.
Soon after the release, Chetia apologised for the 2004 Independence Day blast in Dhemaji, Assam. Thirteen people, including 10 school children, died in the incident.
Chetia has pledged to never to take up arms and said he will join the ongoing peace process.
“I render my sincere apology to the people of the state (Assam) who has lost their relatives and near and dear ones in our armed struggle. I thank the central and the state government for bringing me back from Bangladesh and also express my gratitude towards the Awami League (BNP) government of Bangladesh. I assure the people of the state that we shall not repeat the mistake of 1992 where we backtracked from peace talks in the corridors of Delhi. Now situation is different. I would like to work for peace and would like to play my role in the ongoing tripartite peace dialogue between the centre, state and ULFA,” said Chetia.
Chetia was detained in Bangladesh in 1997 for illegally entering the country using a forged passport, and was found in possession of arms and foreign currencies.
On November 11, 2015, Bangladesh handed over top ULFA leader Anup Chetia to India’s Central Bureau of Investigation and he was brought to Guwahati on a transit remand.
The release is seen as breakthrough in the ongoing talks between ULFA, the Centre and state government.
“It is a major development where one of the important leaders has come to Guwahati and said that insurgency and terrorism will not solve any problem, he has come to join peace talks. Peace talks will get more momentum except Paresh Baruah who is leading other faction who is somewhere in China or Burma border but I believe Anup Chetia’s inclusion in peace talks will help peace talks and people of Assam will get good news from Chetia and the ULFA,” said Naba Thakuria, Senior Journalist and Column Writer.
However, Paresh Baruah, who is the head of military wing of ULFA, is continued to oppose to any peace talks.
Experts believe the exclusion of the Baruah faction hinders the peace process.
“Unless Paresh Baruah joins the peace talks there will be a little doubt which may create problem. Therefore, it should be the duty of Anup Chetia to please Paresh Baruah as they are cousins. So, Anup Chetia should take initiative to talk to Baruah and Baruah should himself understand that it is not 1970’s or 90’s but 2016, therefore, he should come back and join the peace talks and support the people of Assam,” Thakuria added.
In the last few decades, Assam has witnessed violence perpetrated by ULFA.
In January 2007, the outfit struck in Assam killing approximately 62 Hindi-speaking migrant workers, mostly from Bihar.
However, hopes are high that peace will prevail in the state and there will be rapid development and prosperity. (ANI)