The outlawed United Liberation From of Asom (ULFA), whose almost entire leadership was arrested last week, has urged New Delhi to hold plebiscite to decide if the people of Assam want independence.
“Talks, if any, have to be on the issue of Assam’s independence or sovereignty. If the Government cannot hold talks on the issue of sovereignty or independence, let there be a plebiscite on the issue,” ULFA commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah said in an emailed statement to the local media in Guwahati.
The ULFA said that it was prepared to hold peace talks with New Delhi if it discussed their core demand of sovereignty. The rebel outfit has been fighting for an independent homeland since 1979.
It may be mentioned that the Centre had already turned down their demand saying that sovereignty could not be a subject for discussion.
“In the name of holding peace talks, the Government has all along been staging dramas,” the ULFA statement said.
“Our stand is very clear, we are not going to sit for talks if the issue of sovereignty is not discussed,” Baruah said.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi once again reiterated the government position saying sovereignty cannot be discussed.
“No country in the world could ever discuss or grant sovereignty. The question of discussion on sovereignty simply does not arise,” the chief minister was quoted as saying by IANS.