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Landmark Peace Accord with ULFA Signals New Era for Assam: PM Modi Lauds Historic Agreement

The central government and the Arabinda Rajkhowa-led faction of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) have signed a historic peace accord, marking a significant milestone after 12 years of unconditional negotiations.

Landmark Peace Accord with ULFA Signals New Era for Assam: PM Modi Lauds Historic Agreement
Amit Shah with Arabinda Rajkhowa. Picture tweeted by the HM.

New Delhi: This positive development at the close of the year brings hope to the Northeast, which has endured over four decades of extremist violence. In Assam, the Arabinda Rajkhowa-led ULFA faction has committed to renouncing violence and embracing mainstream participation. The culmination of the historic agreement between this group and the Central Government signifies a new chapter for Assam and the entire Northeast region. With the end of insurgency anticipated after this peace accord, the significance lies in the fact that it comes after 12 years of unwavering negotiations.

 

ULFA has left a grim legacy of violence in Assam, plaguing the state for over 40 years. The toll has been severe, with more than 10,000 lives lost since the violence erupted in 1979. Among the casualties, 4,500 were civilians, approximately 700 were security forces, and the rest comprised ULFA members targeted in anti-terrorist operations. The group, at its zenith, engaged in over 2,000 kidnappings, resulting in the tragic deaths of hostages, including at least one migrant.

 

This marks the first official data on ULFA-related violence spanning decades. With Assam's oldest militant group now committing to renounce violence and disband, prospects for peace in the region are anticipated to strengthen. The group's decision to dissolve itself and participate in the democratic process is expected to enhance public engagement in democracy. It is crucial to acknowledge that the hardline faction of ULFA led by Paresh Baruah remains outside the scope of this agreement.

 

Despite a notable reduction in ULFA activities since 2009, recent statistics reveal a substantial decline in violence (87%), deaths (90%), and kidnappings (84%) in Assam. The new agreement with the Rajkhowa faction marks a significant commitment, encompassing the surrender of weapons, renouncement of violence, disbandment of the organization, and active participation in the democratic process. The agreement involves 29 members of the negotiating support group and is poised to catalyze the development of Assam.

 

The Central Government's substantial financial allocation under this agreement is earmarked for the state's development. Demands from the pro-talk faction for constitutional and political reforms to safeguard the identity and resources of Assam's indigenous people, including land rights, have been met with the final consent of the Central Government. With the draft now signed, a path is cleared for comprehensive political reforms, addressing issues ranging from land rights to the empowerment of indigenous communities in Assam.

 

PM Narendra Modi commended the peace agreement inked between the Central and Assam governments and ULFA, emphasizing its role in fostering lasting progress in the state. In a post on 'X,' PM Modi expressed gratitude for the collective efforts that led to this historic achievement. He underscored the significance of today as a pivotal milestone in Assam's journey toward peace and development, affirming the agreement's role in paving the way for sustained progress. Modi concluded by highlighting the collaborative movement towards a future characterized by unity, development, and prosperity.


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