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Exclusive right to indigenous Assamese for identity safeguard


Centre’s announcement brings joy to the pro-talk camp

GUWAHATI, April 8: With the Centre agrees in principle to concede to all demands of the pro-talk faction of ULFA led by Arabinda Rajkhowa, the long pending demand of indigenous Assamese people to have exclusive rights over land, tural resources and 100 per cent representations in elected bodies including Assembly and Parliament is going to be fulfilled soon.
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiran Rijiju told reporters here on Saturday that the Centre has agreed in principle to fulfill all demands of the ULFA since they are found to be genuine. Instructions have been issued to give the peace settlement with the Rajkhowa group a fil shape, he said. 
Sources told The Sentinel on Sunday that the ULFA’s origil and prime issue of sovereignty of Assam is not an issue now since the pro-talk faction of the outfit has been holding talks with the Centre within the framework of Indian Constitution.
“The main issue of the pro-talk faction is now safeguarding rights of indigenous people of the State. The pro-talk group leaders are now putting maximum pressure on the Centre to include various provisions with their peace agreement which will ensure protection of rights of indigenous people especially right over land and tural resources so that they remain domint force in the State,” the source said.
The pro-talks faction of ULFA has most of the senior leaders who had come overground in the last eight or nine years, and the list includes Anup Chetia, Sasha Choudhury, Mril Hazarika, Chitrabon Hazarika, Raju Barua and Prati Deka among others. The self-styled commander-in-chief of ULFA Paresh Barua is still remained elusive and leading the anti-talk faction of the outfit.
But there has been a debate on definition of indigenous Assamese people being explained by the ULFA leaders. ULFA’s general secretary Anup Chetia, whose participation in the peace process with the pro-talk faction of the outfit received a much-needed boost in 2015, said the people who came to Assam and settled down before February 24, 1826, can be termed as indigenous people. Chetia said while every community and people who came after 1826 and took the Assamese culture as their own can be defined as Assamese but not as indigenous.