With a batch of key leaders of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom deserting the outfit's shelters in Bangladesh, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday raised hopes for starting a dialogue with the outfit soon while terming the 'desertion' of ranks by the ULFA men a 'good sign' for the efforts to restore peace in the state.
Responding to reports about 20 odd ULFA men including some close aides of ULFA's fugitive commander-in-chief Paresh Barua deserting their camps in Bangladesh and surrendering before Indian agencies, Gogoi said, "We just can tell you that they (ULFA men) have left their camps in Bangladesh. They have not been handed over to us by the Border Security Force yet. It is a good sign that exposed the disillusionment creeping into the minds of militant over armed struggle. We are trying to start the peace talks with the ULFA soon. Central interlocutor P C Halder is also coming to the state again soon for the purpose."
Talking to mediapersons in Guwahati for the first time after his return from Mumbai where he had undergone a major heart operation recently, Gogoi said the safe passage might be granted to this batch of ULFA men as they had deserted the outfit on their own, provided there was no legal hurdle in doing so.
He said the 'frustration' of Paresh Barua over the desertion by his men was well reflected in the statement made by him on Friday.
In a statement issued to the media on Friday evening, the fugitive Paresh Barua stated some of his close aides including 'captains' Bhaiti Barua, Biju Deka, Pradyut Gohain and central publicity cell member Anu Buragohain had deserted the outfit's shelters to take shelter in enemy (Indian security forces') camps.