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Updated December 29th, 2023 at 22:16 IST

This is what PM Narendra Modi has to say about historic peace deal with ULFA

Taking to the social media platform X, PM Modi expressed, “Today marks a significant milestone in Assam's journey towards peace and development."

Isha Bhandari
PM Modi applauds ULFA peace accord
PM Modi applauds ULFA peace accord | Image:PTI
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Assam: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lauded a major breakthrough as the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) laid down its arms, signing a historic peace deal in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in New Delhi on Friday.

Taking to the social media platform X, PM Modi expressed, “Today marks a significant milestone in Assam's journey towards peace and development. This agreement paves the way for lasting progress in Assam. I commend the efforts of all involved in this landmark achievement. Together, we move towards a future of unity, growth, and prosperity for all.”

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Assam’s 40-year ULFA insurgency sees peace deal 

A historic chapter in Assam's tumultuous 44-year journey through the ULFA insurgency is unfolding with the recent signing of a tripartite Memorandum of Settlement in New Delhi. The accord, involving the pro-talks faction, marks a significant milestone, attempting to address the longstanding issues stemming from a movement that evolved into an armed struggle marred by kidnappings, extortions, killings, and bomb blasts.

Despite the notable absence of the Paresh Barua-led ULFA (Independent) faction, which demands discussions on Assam's sovereignty,the settlement is seen as an important step forward. 

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Opposition parties and civil society organizations, however, label it a "half-baked solution" given the ongoing sporadic violence by the ULFA (I) and intensified operations by security forces.

The ULFA's journey, originating in 1979 and influenced by insurgency in neighboring Nagaland and Mizoram, had garnered support among rural masses initially. 

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However, escalating violence led to a turning point in 1990 with 'Operation Bajrang' and subsequent events, including the declaration of Assam as a 'disturbed area' under AFSPA.

Attempts for negotiation with the ULFA have been ongoing since 1991, with the recent accord being the first major breakthrough, despite its perceived incompleteness. The split in 2011 and subsequent return of leaders, including chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, paved the way for talks without the 'sovereignty' clause.

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The ULFA's complex history involves splits, surrenders, and military operations, with milestones like 'Operation Rhino' in 1991 and 'Operation All Clear' in 2003. Various attempts to bring the ULFA to the negotiating table, including the formation of the 'People's Consultative Group' in 2005, faced challenges, and the outfit continued violent activities.

Recent years have seen incarcerated ULFA leaders taking initiatives, forming the 'Citizen Forum,' and engaging in periodic talks with the government. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma's 2021 ceasefire offer to the ULFA (I) demonstrated a willingness for dialogue, yet recent blasts by the outfit indicate the persisting challenges in achieving a comprehensive resolution.

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While the Memorandum of Settlement is hailed as a crucial step, the road ahead remains uncertain, with the shadow of the sovereignty dispute and sporadic violence casting doubts on a complete resolution to Assam's protracted ULFA insurgency.

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Published December 29th, 2023 at 22:10 IST

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