ULFA unhappy with draft peace deal; seeks reservation for Assam's indigenous people
The pro-talks faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) has expressed its displeasure with the draft peace deal that the Central government provided to them for initiating the talks.
Anup Chetia, the General Secretary of the pro-talk faction of the ULFA, on Friday said that "their battle is to defend Assam from illegal infiltrators and to safeguard the Constitutional rights of the indigenous population in the state".
Earlier, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that if the pro-talks faction of ULFA agrees with the draft peace deal, an agreement could be signed in the month of May.
However, Chetia asserted that without a few of their core demands being met, the signing of the peace agreement is not possible.
"Because of ongoing illegal infiltration, the indigenous population in Assam is eroding into a minority. We requested that 102 of Assam's assembly constituencies out of a total of 126 be set aside for indigenous people as part of the peace pact," according to Chetia.
The ULFA pro-talks side in Assam met the Central government's interlocutor, A.K. Mishra, on April 28.
A discussion between them took place, and later, the state government delivered the proposed peace agreement draft to Chetia and his associates.
Chetia said that they earlier presented the Central government 12 demands, including the updating of the NRC, land rights for indigenous groups, ST status for six indigenous tribes, the declaration of the Assam Flood as a national calamity, and an 88 per cent seat quota for indigenous people.
"The seat reservation is one of the demands that has not yet been approved by the Central government. However, most of our demands have been accepted by the Centre," he said.
"We think the government will take the rest of our demands into consideration since they are not unreasonable," Chetia added.
Anup Chetia claimed that they had made an appeal to the political parties in the state to back their demands.
"Because defending the political and constitutional rights of indigenous people is a crucial matter, we seek support from Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and other political leaders," he said.
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