The Centre has almost finalised a peace deal with the pro-talk faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom, or ULFA, and the pact is likely to be signed on December 29, government sources told NDTV. This is being seen as a major success for the Narendra Modi-led central government in resolving the decades-old problem of insurgency in the northeast.
A financial package, a review of the citizenship list over the issue of illegal immigrants, new measures of land reservation, and rights for the indigenous communities of Assam might figure in the final deal, the sources added.
In addition, new provisions of political, economic, and cultural safeguards for the indigenous communities will find a place in the deal, they said.
Top pro-talk ULFA leaders, led by Anup Chetia and Sashadhar Choudhury, are in Delhi to finalise the deal with senior Home Ministry officials.
Last week, ULFA leaders were in the national capital at a time when Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was camping in the city.
During his stay in Delhi, Mr Sarma met Tapan Kumar Deka, the Director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), and Dinkar Gupta, the Director General of the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Former Special Director of IB AK Mishra, currently the advisor on northeast affairs, and the interlocutor for ULFA peace talks also met the Chief Minister, Mr Sarma’s close aide told NDTV.
The pro-talk faction of ULFA submitted a 12-point charter of demands to the Centre. The peace talks had begun in 2011 and the 12 broad groupings under which negotiations were proposed to start included a status report on missing ULFA leaders and cadres and the issue of general amnesty on pending cases were drawn up.
Another key demand was constitutional and political arrangements and reforms, protection of the identity and material resources of the local indigenous population of Assam, financial and economic package for Assam, settlement of all royalties on mines/minerals, including oil on a retrospective compensatory basis and rights of independent use for sustainable economic development in the future.
Illegal migration, its effect, and required remedies, including sealing of international borders, river patrolling, and development of a native force to man the borders was another demand.
The ULFA (Independent) faction led by its chief Paresh Baruah is opposed to peace talks and has been operating from the group’s hideout on the India-Myanmar border region.