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Assam CM clueless on ULFA chief's whereabouts

December 03, 2009 14:56 IST

"I cannot confirm or deny the news." That is how Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi reacted to United Liberation Front of Assam chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa's arrest news amid emerging contradicting reports.

Some reports said he was arrested in Bangladesh, some reports quoted Rajkhowa himself denying the news.       

Without specifying, he said, "Only the Centre and Rajkhowa know where he is. But I can definitely say things are moving in the right direction."

He, however, informed that the outfit's commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah shifted his base from Bangladesh to somewhere along the China-Myanmar border.

Gogoi said, "We may soon get the good news (peace talks) with the ULFA. However, nobody has informed about what transpired between the ULFA leaders and the home ministry officials. But there is something definitely happening. I think ULFA will give up violence and mindless killings, and join the mainstream."

Asked whether the ULFA chairman had been arrested or given a safe passage, Gogoi said, "I am ready for even providing a safe passage to Rajkhowa if he is wiling to talk."

K Anurag in Guwahati