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ULFA leadership was in B'desh since 1990: Gogoi

By K Anurag
December 07, 2009 19:22 IST
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Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday informed the state assembly that the arrested chairman of United Liberation Front of Asom Arabinda Rajkhowa and foreign secretary Sashadhar Choudhury had been in Bangladesh since 1990, while finance secretary Chitrabon Hazarika and deputy commander-in-chief Raju Baruah shifted to Bangladesh on a later date.

He said the senior ULFA leaders, including the fugitive commander in chief Paresh Baruah, had been responsible for triggering violence and killing innocent people in Assam by coordinating the outfit's operations in the state from their bases in Bhutan, Myanmar and particularly in Bangladesh.

"During the last three decades 1,289 innocent lives were lost in Assam due to violence triggered by the banned ULFA and the people of Assam would never forget those killings," Gogoi informed Assam assembly on Monday.

He also said that during the last eight years of the Congress regime in Assam, 1482 militants, including members of the ULFA, were killed and 9360 ultras arrested.

The chief minister said barring the commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah and senior leader Jibon Mora, all the central executive committee members of the ULFA were now either in custody or had died or went missing.

He said Paresh Baruah has shifted his base from Bangladesh and looking for a safe sanctuary outside, while Jibon Moran was in Myanmar.

Gogoi said that Rajkhowa, and deputy commander in chief Raju Baruah were arrested because they refused to hold dialogue with the government to find a solution to the problem.

"Had they agreed to hold dialogue with the government, we would have welcomed them. Instead they had to be handcuffed as they declined to hold dialogue," Gogoi said.

The CM said the government would keep the door for negotiation open, provided the ULFA gave up its demand for sovereignty of Assam.'

Gogoi on Monday said those people who shouted pro-ULFA slogans while the arrested ULFA leaders were being brought to produce before the court in Guwahati on Saturday evening, were 'anti-nationals'. A large group of people shouted "ULFA zindabad, long live ULFA, Arabinda Rajhkhowa zindabad' just outside the court premises on that day in presence of police and paramilitary force personnel.

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K Anurag in Guwahati