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Mamoni tried to start ULFA peace talks
Staff Reporter

File photo: Mamoni Raisom with some members of the PCG team in December, 2005.
 GUWAHATI, Nov 29 – Noted litterateur Dr Mamoni Raisom Goswami made her best efforts to start the process of talks between the Government of India and United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) for restoration of permanent peace in Assam. During that time, she even managed to persuade Paresh Baruah, known to be a hard line member of the ULFA, to agree to talks with the Government of India but later the process failed due to differences between the Government and the outfit.

Former PCG member Hiranya Saikia, who first spoke to Dr Goswami on behalf of Paresh Baruah, said that the writer tried her best to start the process of talks between the Government and the ULFA.

Giving details of the series of events, Saikia said that Paresh Baruah first called up Dr Goswami when she won the prestigious Jnanpith award to congratulate her and he kept in touch with Dr Goswami over phone since then. In August, 2004, Dr Goswami, along with three other prominent persons of the State issued an appeal to the ULFA to come forward for talks and Paresh Baruah asked her to appeal to the Government of India instead of the ULFA to start the process of talks.

Saikia said that during that time, Dr Goswami was briefed about the history of the ULFA and after going back to New Delhi, she drafted a personal letter to the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. The letter was read out to Paresh Baruah, who made a few minor changes. Dr Goswami sent the letter to the Prime Minister in October, 2004. In December that year, the then adviser to the Prime Minister, MK Narayanan wrote to Dr Goswami saying that the Government was keen to discuss all issues with the ULFA.

Narayanan’s letter to Dr Goswami was again read out to Paresh Baruah and on January 1, 2005, Dr Goswami, along with Saikia went to meet the Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi to apprise him of the developments. In the same month, Dr Goswami also met the Prime Minister to discuss the issue.

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