Former IB chief in Assam for talks with militant groups

Guwahati, Nov 19 ( Former Intelligence Bureau chief P.C. Haldar, appointed by the central government as interlocutor for advancing talks with separatist groups, arrived here Thursday amid hopes of providing the deadlocked peace process a boost.

“I am here to talk to the state government and then other things would follow,” Haldar told journalists.

This is the first time New Delhi will have a pointperson to deal with the militant groups in the region.

There are northeast eight militant groups in ceasefires with the government, prominent among them being the splinter factions of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), two factions of the Dima Haolam Daogah (DHD), and the Adivasi Cobra Militant Force.

Formal peace talks were yet to begin with any of the militant groups.

“We expect the visit of Haldar would expedite the peace process,” a state government official said.

Haldar Thursday met Assam Chief Secretary P.C. Sharma and discussed at length the status of the rebel groups in ceasefire with the government.

“He tried to find out what were some of the problems or obstacles in furthering the peace talks,” the official said.

At present just two main rebel groups are active in Assam – the ULFA faction led by chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and the Ranjan Daimary led NDFB, leaders of both operating from out of India, probably from bases in Bangladesh and China.