Monday, May 30, 2005

INDIA: Assam- Truce before the Storm?

Having accomplished step one in its peace efforts, both the Assam Government and New Delhi appear happy. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is particularly elated in an election year, because the NDFB had responded favourably to his September 30, 2004, offer of truce to all rebel groups in this State of 26 million people. The other frontline insurgent group in Assam, the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) had rejected the call, but later indicated its desire for entering into peace negotiations with the Government of India. New Delhi, on May 26, 2005, addressed a letter to ULFA 'Chairman' Arabinda Rajkhowa, inviting his group for unconditional peace talks - the immediate response was the assassination of a Congress party leader, Amrit Dutta, president of the North-west Jorhat Anchalik Panchayat and the executive president of the Dergaon Block Congress, who was shot dead in Jorhat, the Chief Minister's home constituency, by two ULFA gunmen, on the same day.

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