ULFA leaders ask govt to include Anup Chetia in talks

New Delhi: The pro-talks faction of ULFA today appealed to the Centre to include recently deported 'general secretary' Anup Chetia in the peace process saying without his participation, the dialogue would remain inconclusive.

"There will be no political discussion without ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia's participation in the talks. We have appealed to the government to ensure his early release from judicial custody so that he can join us.

"Otherwise, the peace process would remain inconclusive," ULFA 'president' Arabinda Rajkhowa told reporters here after a meeting with Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi. A Home Ministry spokesperson said the ULFA leaders appreciated the efforts made by the government for repatriation of Chetia from Bangladesh to India.

"The ULFA leaders requested to associate him (Chetia) in the ongoing peace process. The Union Home Secretary suggested to the government of India's representative to examine the request of ULFA leaders," he said.

The meeting, under the chairmanship of the Union Home Secretary, reviewed the progress made in the peace talks so far. Representatives of the government of Assam also took part in it. "Discussions were cordial and it was agreed to meet again as soon as mutually convenient to move the peace process forward," the spokesperson said.

ULFA leader Shashadhar Choudhury said the next round of talks with the central government will be held in December in which Chetia is expected to take part. Chetia, who was arrested upon his deportation from Bangladesh about a fortnight ago, is currently in a jail in Guwahati.

Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said the central government is expecting a breakthrough in the ongoing talks with the ULFA soon. "Government has been talking to several groups in the Northeast. ULFA is one of them. We hope that a solution could be found soon," he said. ULFA hardliner Paresh Baruah is steadfastly opposed to any peace talks with the government.

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