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Assam: Citizenship Bill poised to cast spell on peace talks with ULFA !

GUWAHATI: The contentious  Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is likely to cast its spell on the on-going peace talks between the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) led by Arabinda Rajkhowa.

The pro-talk ULFA faction may pull out of the dialogue process with the Government of India if the Centre goes ahead  to enact the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Parliament. This is what has been hinted by one of the leaders of pro-talks ULFA, Mrinal Hazarika while talking to reporters here on Saturday.

“The ongoing peace talk process with the government is likely to be discontinued if the Centre goes ahead with the controversial Citizenship Bill,” pro-talk ULFA leader Mrinal Hazarika told reporters.

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“We have raised the issue in our organisation’s platform. If the Bill is passed in the Parliament, then talks will be redundant,” Hazarika said adding that unabated migration from across the border was one of the key reasons for which ULFA had come into being and the problem will worsen if the Bill is passed.

It may be mentioned that ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia who is a top leader of the pro-talks faction, said in early last year that the outfit would pull out of the peace process with the government in case the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is enacted.

Union Minister of State from Home, Kiren Rijiju recently commented that the negotiation process with the ULFA was progressing well as the ULFA’s demands were in order.

One of the key demands of the ULFA faction is adequate protection on political , economic and cultural rights of indigenous population in the state.

A senior Assam Police official last year admitted that the issue over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was creating disillusionment among a section of youths in the state and many of them were trying to join ranks of the anti-talks faction of the ULFA or the ULFA (Independent) led by fugitive commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah.

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