ULFA disbanded 44 years after formation; to hand over arms this month | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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ULFA disbanded 44 years after formation; to hand over arms this month

Jan 23, 2024 05:28 PM IST

The decision was taken at the outfit’s final general meeting held at Sipajhar 25 days after ULFA signed a memorandum of settlement in New Delhi on Dec 29

Forty four years after it was formed, the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), which had set creating a sovereign Assam as its main goal, disbanded itself on Tuesday.

The outfit will also have to vacate all the 9 designated camps (Nav Nirman Kendras). (Representative file photo)
The outfit will also have to vacate all the 9 designated camps (Nav Nirman Kendras). (Representative file photo)

The decision was taken at the outfit’s final general meeting held at Sipajhar, located around 55 km from Guwahati, twenty five days after ULFA signed a tripartite memorandum of settlement in New Delhi with the Centre and the Assam government on December 29.

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“The decision to disband and dissolve the outfit was taken at the meeting today as stipulated by the settlement signed in Delhi. With this the cases of sedition on the outfit will be lifted,” ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa said.

To be sure, while the ULFA has around 700 total members, the anti-talks faction of the outfit, ULFA-Independent (ULFA-I), which has camps in Myanmar and parts of northeast and around 200 members, are opposed to any settlement till Assam’s sovereignty is discussed.

Last month’s settlement, which HT has seen, stipulated that “ULFA shall abjure the path of violence, give up all arms/ammunition and disband the armed organisation within one month”.

Also Read:The last hurdle to rid Assam of over four decades-old insurgency

The outfit will also have to vacate all the 9 designated camps (Nav Nirman Kendras) where ULFA cadres and their families were staying after coming for talks in 2011. Leadership of the outfit informed that their arms/ammunition will be handed over to the state government at a formal ceremony later this month.

The settlement promises a lumpsum ex-gratia payment to the cadres, funding of economic activities by them, vocational training and government jobs depending on eligibility. It stated that criminal cases registered against ULFA cadres for non-heinous crimes will be withdrawn.

“We believe that the issues mentioned in the settlement and the assurances given to us by the Centre and the Assam government will be fulfilled,” said Rajkhowa.

He stated that the outfit would stay away from party politics but members in their individual capacity could join political parties if they desired.

“It’s an emotional and sad moment. We had given birth to the outfit and today due to circumstances we are forced to destroy it. All of us have made lot of sacrifices and given precious time of their lives to the outfit,” said Anup Chetia, ULFA general secretary.

In February 2011, ULFA split into two groups—one group led by chairman Rajkhowa that decided to give up its violent past and sit for talks with Centre without any condition and another led by Paresh Baruah, which decided against talks and rebranded as ULFA-Independent.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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