Centre, Assam government sign peace deal with pro-talks faction of ULFA


In a major development, the Centre signed a peace accord with the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) on December 29.

The pro-talks faction of the insurgent group signed the deal with the Centre and Assam government in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. The militant group signed the deal, agreeing to give up violence and join the mainstream. 

Speaking at the signing event Union Home Minister said “It is a matter of joy for me that today is a bright day for the future of Assam. For a long time, Assam, Northeast faced violence and after Prime Minister Narendra Modi became PM in 2014, efforts were made to reduce the gap between Delhi and Northeast”, said Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

“It is a golden day for Assam’s future. Assam and North East endured violence for decades. Nine peace accords in the past five years in North East. Peace established in northeast. More than 9,000 cadres surrendered, AFSPA has been removed from 85% area in Assam”, HM Shah said.

Shah “Since 1979 all those who were killed were country’s citizens. A package and development projects have been agreed upon today. All the aspects of the settlement will be implemented today with surrender of 700 cadres, the total number of surrendered cadre will stand at 8,200 cadres”

The Home Minister said “A new era beckons. I want to assure ULFA that government will prepare a time bound programme to implement the settlement, a committee will also be formed.”

During signing the peace pact, the ULFA representatives said “This will bring lasting peace in Assam. I apologise for any wrongdoing from our side.”

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said “A historic day for Assam. 8,700 cadres of militant organisations have joined peace accord. With three accords, tribal Militancy over. Everyone has joined mainstream. ULFA picked up arms, many were killed in 1980s, around 10,000 people were killed which included security personnel, civilians and also ULFA.”

The Assam Chief Minister said “Nobody has answers why their sons and husbands were killed, those who were killing were also not aware why they are killing. Home Ministry took a decisive step that they negotiate with ULFA and bring a closure. This accord will fulfill the aspirations of people. PM Modi’s outreach has brought peace to Assam.”

Along with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and 16 leaders of the pro-talks faction of the ULFA, headed by Arabinda Rajkhowa, were present at the signing of the peace pact at North Block.

The other faction led by Paresh Baruah known as ULFA-I has not joined the peace process. Mr. Baruah is said to be in Myanmar.

The Central government had been holding unconditional negotiations with the Arabinda Rajkhowa-led faction for over 12 years.

The Rajkhowa faction joined peace talks with the government on September 3, 2011, after an agreement for Suspension of Operations was signed between it and central and state governments.

The ULFA was born during the Assam Agitation of 1979 demanding a sovereign State for the Assamese people. 

The settlement is likely to take care of a host of long-standing political, economic and social issues concerning Assam, besides providing cultural safeguards and land rights to the indigenous people.