Development of Assam is not possible without Barak: Anup Chetia

Silchar, March 29: “Pro talk ULFA group is working under the banner of ‘Praktan ULFA Aikya Mancha’ to make a new Assam with the active cooperation of all classes and sections of people”, pointed out Anup Chetia, general secretary of the outfit, while addressing the workers’ meet at ZST Palace, Madhurbond in the suburb of this town today. According to him, ULFA born in 1979 has been active in Barak Valley since 1982-83 and has a total strength of 200 cadres. ULFA in general has 17,000 active members.
 Being pro talk, ULFA is now a force with changed outlook whose aim is to create ‘Natun Asom’. Chetia admitted, “We started armed struggle and now have taken to peaceful method for settlement of the issues where people irrespective of their caste, creed and ethnicity can join hands in this movement for ‘Natun Asom’.” He was aware of the outcry for separate Barak which he attributed to the isolation of this valley from the main land of Assam. It was due to the lack of direct communication.
 There was some basis as Anup Chetia said. People of this valley felt neglected and discriminated due mainly to the indifferent attitude of the power at Dispur. He made it clear “without Barak Valley, development of Assam as a whole can never be possible”. He reminded Assam has rich natural resources like coal, oil and tea and the mainstay of economy can make the state economically stronger and hasten the process of development. The royalties earned from them will be equally shared with this valley also.
 It was a most unfortunate development that one after another states like Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram and Meghalaya got separated from the united Assam. This was again due to the ham handed policy of the state headquarters. Were the people of these states happy after separation, asked Chetia? No, he said. All started armed struggle, but ultimately realized this was not the right path of solution. Separation of Barak Valley, he again stressed, is no solution. Rather, he advised the civil society and various organizations here to contact the central committee of pro talk ULFA group in case of their grievances which would be examined by it and taken up with the Centre.
 While blaming the political leaders for keeping Barak Valley in isolation for long, Anup Chetia was not at all happy with the spiritual leaders without naming them for creating a cleavage between the Assamese and the Bodo, Karbi, Dimasa and other tribal groups. It is also most disquieting that these tribal groups have not accepted Assamese culture. On the most raging issue of ‘khilinjia’, Chetia dismissed it as of no relevance since all those live in Assam are equal. He finds behind its coinage a ‘sinister move to divide Assamese and Bengalis’. It is high time its implication has to be found out and also its solution. “For the moment, we are for unification of all people of Assam and in it lies the peace and prosperity of the state”, he pointed out.
 Chetia also brought in the question of the atrocities on Hindu Bengalis, Buddhists, Christians and Manipuris in Bangladesh for which he held the short-sighted politics and ill advised diplomacy of the successive Central Government. Chetia was accompanied Pranjit Saikia, advisor, Luit Medhi, secretary, and Hasan Ali, member, of the pro talk group. The workers’ meeting was presided over by Advocate Muktar Ahmed Laskar. Anup Chetia is on a three day visit to this valley where he is scheduled to address workers’ meetings at different locations.

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