ULFA talks: CM Himanta Biswa Sarma hopeful of finding a middle way

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that both ULFA chief Paresh Baruah and the government have their respective compulsions
ULFA talks: CM Himanta Biswa Sarma hopeful of finding a middle way

* 'Debated clause is only for TET, not for other jobs'


GUWAHATI: Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that both ULFA chief Paresh Baruah and the government have their respective compulsions, but for the peace dialogue to begin, the two parties have to strike a happy medium.

Talking to the media in New Delhi on Saturday, the Chief Minister said, "Right from the beginning, ULFA leader Paresh Baruah has been sticking to the issue of sovereignty in the peace process. There are compulsions on both sides. As the Chief Minister of the State, I took an oath to protect the sovereignty of India. Neither Paresh Baruah can change his stand, nor can I defy my oath. So, we will have to find a middle way. We need to arrive at certain definitions that can address the issues of both parties. We want a respectful solution to the decades-old insurgency problem. While some people are talking to Baruah to make him sit across the table, I'm talking to the Government of India. However, we can't expect anything immediately."

On Assam's boundary disputes with Nagaland and Mizoram, the Chief Minister said, "I'm telling Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga that we need to maintain status quo on the boundary. Satellite images will clearly show the new encroachments. The two neighbouring states should maintain the status quo along their respective boundaries with Assam based on satellite images. I talked to Neiphiu Rio on Friday. On July 9, the Assam Chief Secretary will meet with his Mizoram counterpart in New Delhi."

On the much-debated clause in the HSLC/AHM and HS evaluation, the Chief Minister said, "This clause is applicable only in the TET, not in other jobs. The HSLC/AHM and HS marks also count in TET. Since most of the students will secure 95 per cent marks in HSLC and HS according to the new evaluation formula this time, it is an injustice to other TET candidates who passed HSLC and HS earlier. We have decided on a humanitarian approach. There are some sorts of misunderstandings with the particular clause. We'll find a solution through talks with all those opposing the clause."

According to the debated clause, 'the mark sheets and certificates under the new evaluation formula will be applicable for admissions in higher classes but not valid for jobs in the government sector.

Sarma said, "We have taken the stand of zero-tolerance against crimes. Three encounters with criminals within the past 24 hours in the State tantamounts to the approach adopted by the State police. One of the kingpins of cattle smuggling sustained injuries in one of the three encounters. The cattle smuggling involves around Rs 1,000 crore per month."

On former Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Sarma said, "It is up to the Centre as to what responsibilities it will give him. One thing is clear that he's our leader and will continue to remain so."

On Akhil Gogoi, the Chief Minister said, "He had been in the hospital for a year. When the court acquitted him, he became physically fit all of a sudden and started touring Sivasagar. I have doubt about his health condition. My question to the doctors is: what was his ailment? As I know, he has around ten ailments, according to his medical report."

Meanwhile, GMCH Superintendent Dr Abhijeet Sarma said, "We haven't discharged Akhil Gogoi. He has gone out by at his own risk by giving an undertaking. If any patient wants to go with an undertaking, we can't prevent him."

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