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ULFA chief calls for referendum on sovereignty

Last updated on: December 11, 2009 21:00 IST

Upping the ante, United Liberation Front of Asom 'commander-in-chief' Paresh Barua shot off a 'last message' to the centre, on Friday, asking it to take a referendum in Assam if it could not discuss the sovereignty issue with the group.

In an email sent in Assamese in Roman script and not written in the usual ULFA letterhead, Barua, said "The government of India has to discuss the sovereignty of Assam. If it cannot do so then it should go for a referendum to ascertain the opinion of the Assamese people on the issue." Noting that even Mahatma Gandhi had sought people's opinion before taking up his movement against the British, he said there are instances of referendums in Canada, Indonesia and several other countries.

Asserting that this was his last message, Barua said, "the government should either discuss the sovereignty issue or take a referendum 'before it is too late'. "The people of Assam, who have always remained historically independent, cannot be deprived of their birthright," he said.

Barua also alleged that India being the world's largest democracy was 'eyewash' as all political parties worked only in their own interest.