After decades of insurgency starting from 1979 in the North-Eastern State of Assam, the Union Government of India and the State Government of Assam signed a peace pact with the separatist organization of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) on Friday, 29th December.
The pact was signed by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, and the ULFA represented by a delegation of 16 members led by Arabinda Rajkhowa. The organization has now agreed to dismantle itself and give up all arms. It has also asked the government to declare the annual floods of Assam as a national priority and to reserve 97 of the Assam assembly seats for the indigenous people among other conditions.
The origins of ULFA
After the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, there was a rising illegal immigration influx to Assam from bordering Bangladesh. The local population of the State was concerned about the loss of their identity and their resources to the refugees. The All-Assam Students Union (AASU) and the All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (AAGSP) led protests and agitations in the state demanding a deportation of the refugee crisis. This was the Assam Movement, lasting from 1979 to 1985. The movement ended with the signing of the Assam Accord in 1985.
Several peace agreements and initiatives to The ULFA originated in 1979, led by young men, some of its prime leaders being Paresh Baruah, Arabinda Rajkhowa, and Anup Chetia. It intended to form an independent state of Assam by engaging in an armed struggle. The people of Assam initially supported it to finally get the often-neglected voices of the region’s people to the Centre. But what followed later was civilian abduction, extortion of money, arms smuggling, and death of many innocent citizens of Assam, forcing the people to withdraw their support.
The ULFA militancy peaked after the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) came into power in 1985. There were allegations that the state government supported the ULFA. As the state's law and order got worse, the Centre imposed President's Rule in 1990. Later in the same year, the Indian Army launched its Operation Bajrang against the militants.
end militancy have been taken by the Central as well as State governments in the past. The power and glory of the ULFA have fallen immensely in the years following the 1990s but it has not ended entirely. The abduction of innocent civilians and demands for money by ULFA has been an issue in Assam for the longest time. The Commander-in-Chief of the ULFA, Paresh Baruah is said to be living somewhere in the China-Myanmar border.
While Amit Shah calls the recent peace agreement a “historic moment” for Assam with an absolute end to the ULFA militancy, only time will tell the results of this pact.
The hyperlinks are the sources that I have referred to for this article.
Edited by Aishwarya Shastri
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