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Continue fight against terrorism, Home Ministry tells Assam Government

By Sushanta Talukdar

GUWAHATI, DEC. 19. The Union Home Secretary, Dhirendra Singh, yesterday reviewed the prevailing law-and-order situation of the State in the wake of serial blasts triggered by the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) at a high-level meeting held at the official residence of the Assam Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi, here tonight. Mr. Singh said the Assam Government should not ease counter-insurgency operations in the State and assured the Centre's full cooperation , sources in the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) told The Hindu after the meeting.

Peace with NDFB

Mr. Singh told the State Government that the Centre was willing to convene a meeting to initiate a peace process with the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and that modalities were being worked out. Though Mr. Gogoi said the State Government had no objection to a direct dialogue between the NDFB and the Centre, Mr. Singh underlined the need for the State Government's involvement in the process.

The NDFB had declined to talk to the State Government and had insisted that they would talk directly with the Centre, when the latter had sent an emissary to its chief, Ranjan Daimari, seeking names of NDFB representatives who may participate in a formal ceasefire agreement.

Mr. Singh also informed Mr. Gogoi that the Ministry of Home Affairs has moved the Ministry of Finance on the Assam Government's proposal for a rehabilitation package for surrendered militants of the State on the line of Jammu and Kashmir. Mr. Singh said his Ministry had already moved the Finance Ministry on the reimbursement of security related expenditure, the CMO sources added.

The Director of Assam affairs in the Ministry of Home Affairs, A.K. Goel, Assam Chief Secretary, S. Kabilan and the State Home Commissioner, B.K. Gohain, were among those present in the meeting. The sources in the CMO said that in response to the State Government's query on yesterday's statement issued by the ULFA that the outfit's self-styled commander-in-chief, Paresh Barua, was ill, the Home Ministry officials told the former that it was yet to check the truth of the statement.

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