Home Minister Amit Shah authorized me to hold preliminary talks with ULFA, says Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday said that Union Home Minister Amit Shah has authorized him to hold preliminary talks with the militant group ULFA. After meeting Amit Shah in Delhi, Sarma also said that he is partly involved in the ongoing peace process with the NSCN-IM but is not holding any official talks with the Naga insurgent group.

“I have discussed with the Home Minister the issue of holding peace talks with ULFA. He has authorized me to initiate preliminary talks with ULFA. The chief minister also said that if things move in the right direction, the central government may engage in peace talks with ULFA at a later stage.

Asked about his role in talks with NSCN-IM, Sarma said he was partly involved but never officially joined peace talks. “As the convener of NEDA, I have spoken earlier with some political parties (in Nagaland),” he said.

Sarma is the convener of the ‘North East Democratic Alliance’ (NEDA), a version of the National Democratic Alliance for the Northeast. The main political parties in the region are constituents of the NEDA. Sarma said he would visit Nagaland on Tuesday to take stock of the political situation as the convener of NEDA.

Referring to the National Register of Citizens (NRC), he said that the stand of both the central and state governments is the same on the demand for review of the NRC in Assam. However, the Supreme Court will decide in this regard as the NRC was prepared under the direct supervision of the apex court.

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