In a historic milestone, the Governments of India and Assam, in conjunction with representatives from the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), are set to sign a Memorandum of Settlement on December 29 at 5 pm in New Delhi. This significant agreement represents a crucial step toward resolving longstanding issues that have persisted in the region.
The Assam Government, through a statement on microblogging site X on December 28, announced that the signing ceremony will be attended by Union Home Minister & Minister of Cooperation, Sh. Amit Shah. Also present will be Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, along with more than a dozen top leaders from the pro-talks faction of the ULFA, led by Arabinda Rajkhowa.
The peace accord is designed to address a spectrum of persistent political, economic, and social issues that have affected Assam. Beyond these concerns, the agreement includes provisions for cultural safeguards and land rights, underscoring a commitment to the well-being of the indigenous people.
Notably absent from the agreement will be the hardline faction of ULFA, led by Paresh Baruah, which has consistently rejected peace offerings from the government. While the Rajkhowa faction, led by Arabinda Rajkhowa, has engaged in unconditional talks with the central government since 2011, the Baruah faction remains in opposition, believed to be operating along the China-Myanmar border.
Key leaders of the Rajkhowa faction, Anup Chetia and Sashdhar Choudhary, were in the national capital last week for final discussions with government interlocutors. The government’s representatives involved in these crucial discussions include Director of the Intelligence Bureau Tapan Deka and the government’s advisor on Northeast affairs A K Mishra.
This historic event signifies a positive and constructive approach towards resolving complex issues that have lingered for years. As the leaders converge to sign the Memorandum of Settlement, there is a palpable sense of optimism that this agreement will pave the way for lasting peace and prosperity in the region. The careful inclusion of cultural safeguards and land rights reflects a commitment to the diverse communities of Assam, ensuring their equitable participation in the development and progress of the state.