All You Need To Know About The ULFA Peace Deal In Assam

The pro-talk faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), has signed a peace accord with the Central and Assam governments on Friday, 29th December, 2023, agreeing to shun decade long insurgence and join the mainstream. 

This peace deal, a result of the 12-year long unconditional negotiations between the government and the pro-talk faction of the ULFA, marks a significant breakthrough in the Northeast. 


Who Are The ULFA? 

The ULFA was formed on April 7, 1979, by a group of 20 youngsters from the Upper Assam districts, with the objective of “restorating Assam’s sovereignty.” The group is responsible for several attacks since its formation and so, was declared as a banned outfit by the Central Government in 1990. 

Today, bases of this insurgent group are present in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Bhutan and some of its cadres even received training in China and Pakistan. 

ULFA was regarded as the most dreaded rebel group among all the northeast ones and at one point of time, was considered highly potent in Southeast Asia. 

There have been visible internal differences between the top leaders, throughout the existence of the group. In February 2011, ULFA split into two groups, with the Arabinda Rajkhowa-led faction giving up violence and agreeing to unconditional talks with the government while the Paresh Baruah-led rebranded ULFA-Independent faction is against talks. 

On September 3, 2011, an agreement for Suspension of Operations (SoO) was signed between the Rajkhowa-led faction and the Central and State governments.

Paresh Baruah, the leader of the hardline faction, is believed to be residing at the China-Myanmar border and is still not a part of this peace accord.

Also Read: Why Is This Malayalam Director Taking Legal Action Against A Kerala College?

What Is The Peace Deal Signed By Them?

The pro-talk faction agreed on coming to the negotiation table without the sovereignty clause and had submitted a 12-point charter of demands to the Central Government. 

One of the main demands put forward by them is the formal acknowledgement of six communities in Assam, namely, Moran, Muttock, Tai-Ahom, Koch-Rajbongshi, Sootea, and Tea Tribes; as Scheduled Tribes. If this is agreed to, then approximately 50% of Assam’s population would attain tribal classification, transforming the state into a tribal-inhabited region. 

Another demand was a review of the citizenship list to address the issue of illegal immigrants.

According to sources, the peace deal consists of a financial package, new land reservation measures, rights for the indigenous communities of Assam and a review of the citizenship list. 

A financial package will help address the economic concerns of the region as well as aid the rehabilitation of the former ULFA members. 

Sources say that the deal also consists of provisions for political, economic and cultural safeguards for the indigenous communities in Assam. 

What Does This Peace Accord Mean For Assam?

This tripartite Memorandum of Settlement, between the pro-talk faction of the ULFA, Centre and the Government of Assam, is a historic deal as the ULFA will be disbanded hereafter. They will disband their camps, deposit their arms and 726 cadres will be in the mainstream. 

“In the ULFA conflict, around 10,000 people from both sides were killed, who were citizens of this country, but today this problem is being completely resolved. The Centre has agreed to provide a huge package and several big projects for all-round development of Assam. The Modi government will comply with all provisions of the agreement,” said Home Minister Amit Shah, in the presence of whom the deal was signed in New Delhi. 

Rajeev Bhattacharyya, noted journalist and author who has extensively covered the ULFA believes that the accord is very beneficial for the future of Assam, however, the real challenge lies in the effective and timely implementation of the agreement.

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: Mint, NDTV, India Today

Find the blogger: Unusha Ahmad

This post is tagged under: ULFA, ULFA peace deal, Assam, Northeast, Rajkhiwa, Baruah, tripartite, Memorandum of Settlement

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