‘Matter of joy’: Amit Shah after signing peace accord with ULFA; Biswa Sarma hails ‘end’ of tribal militancy in Assam

On Friday, the faction of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) engaged in peace talks, reaching an agreement with the central and Assam governments to renounce violence and integrate into mainstream society.

A delegation, consisting of 29 members from the pro-talks faction of ULFA—comprising 16 ULFA members and 13 individuals from civil society—formalized the agreement.

This accord holds significant importance, as it designates the banned ULFA-Independent as the sole major insurgent group remaining in the state.

Expressing his joy, Union Home Minister Amit Shah characterized the day as promising for Assam\’s future. He acknowledged the enduring violence faced by Assam and the Northeast, commending efforts initiated since Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office in 2014 to bridge the gap between Delhi and the Northeast.

Amit Shah revealed that ULFA, the oldest insurgent group in Assam, has committed to forsake violence, disband the organization, and participate in the democratic process. He emphasized the toll ULFA\’s violence has taken on Assam, with 10,000 lives lost since 1979.

Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam\’s Chief Minister, hailed the day as historic and credited ongoing peace efforts in Assam during PM Modi\’s tenure under the guidance of Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Sarma highlighted that three accords have been signed, bringing an end to tribal militancy in Assam.

Formed in 1979 as a separatist group demanding a \”sovereign Assam\” due to concerns over undocumented immigrants from Bangladesh, ULFA was declared a banned outfit by the central government in 1990 for its involvement in subversive activities.

In February 2011, ULFA split into two factions, with the Arabinda Rajkhowa-led faction renouncing violence and entering unconditional talks with the government. This pro-talks faction initiated peace talks in 2011 after signing a Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement with the central and state governments.

Paresh Baruah, leading the opposing faction (ULFA-Independent), opposes the talks and is believed to be located along the China-Myanmar border.

The pro-talks faction has advocated for constitutional and political reforms to safeguard the identity and resources of Assam\’s indigenous people, including their right to land. In April, the Union government presented a draft agreement, with talks between the two sides occurring in Delhi in August.

This development follows the Union government\’s successful peace deals with various rebel outfits in Assam over the past three years, including Bodo, Dimasa, Karbi, and Adivasi groups.

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